How We Eat

Our food-from where it’s grown to how we eat it-is undergoing a radical transformation. In How We Eat, Underhill takes a hopeful and characteristically witty approach to how we can change the ways we consume, revealing the future of food in surprising anecdotes. For example, how cities are becoming countries with the rise of farmers markets and rooftop farms; how supermarkets are finding that their most valuable real estate-their parking lot-is better used to grow food and host community events; and how marijuana farmers, who have utilized light and hydroponics to grow crops for years, have developed a playbook so the modern merchants can grow food in an uncertain future.

Underhill shows how food intersects with every major battle we face today, from political and environmental to economic and racial. Is our food system broken? Underhill invites you to discover how we produce, process, distribute, and consume food and celebrate how we can grow some of our own food whether in the context of our apartment kitchens or our suburban gardens.

How We Eat Reviews

“…The fun anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book are particularly enjoyable as they bring you into his story. Most enjoyable, though, are the consumer and shopping insights Paco shares from his decades of experience watching customers shop. This is really about how we shop and consume food, in all its ways, how this is changing and what’s on the horizon. How We Eat” takes you from the parking lot of your local grocery store, inside in all its drabness and consistency to a future vision about sensorial and visual experiences to city farms. Paco shares insights and his love for food, how it brings us together and the remarkable changes and innovations through conversations and personal stories. I definitely recommend it.”

Jeff Fisher, Vice President of NA & Blenders Retail

How We Eat is a fascinating journey down the rabbit hole of consumerism and how evolving cultural and societal shifts have had a myriad of impacts on our relationship with food and the business of selling it. Seen through Underhill’s unique lens of personal experiences and professional expertise as one of the world’s foremost shopping anthropologists, How We Eat raises questions—from the mundane to the profound, with equally important implications—that will make you rethink not just how we eat and shop, but how we interact, live and coexist.”

-Jessie Dowd, Editorial Director of Path to Purchase Institute

How We Eat is not a technical book about food. It is a masterful adventure through the coffee shop, around the grocery store, and across the road to the farmer’s market. Paco’s power of observation comes to life through humorous and engaging stories that open your eyes to the world of food retailing and all the things we take for granted in what and how we eat. On par with Kitchen ConfidentialHow We Eat lays open the underbelly of what goes in our bellies! A must read for anyone curious about the food we eat and why we buy what we buy. Destined to be another classic alongside Why We Buy.”

-Andy Murray, Dean at the Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas

What Women Want

As large numbers of women become steadily wealthier, more powerful, and more independent, Underhill shows how their choices and preferences are changing the retail environment in a variety of surprising ways, from the cars we drive to the food we eat. This is a fascinating and accessible read for consumers and retailers alike. And for businesses of every kind, this is a powerful warning that those who ignore what women want, do so at their own peril.

Underhill examines how women’s role as homemakers has evolved into a homeowner, and what women look for in a home. How the home gym and home office are linked to the women’s health movement and home-based businesses. Why the refrigerator has trumped the store as the seminal appliance. How every major hotel chain in the world has redesigned rooms and services for the female business traveler. Why some malls, appealing to women, are succeeding while others fail. Office product superstores like Staples, Office Depot and Office Max have evolved an integrated web presence that works for women. And dealers take note that more than half the cars on the road in North America are driven by women.

Why We Buy

WHY WE BUY: The Science of Shopping Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond is a completely revised edition of this classic bestseller redirected for the way we shop today. Filled with observations and important lessons from the cutting edge of retail, this revised edition includes three brand new chapters that focus on global markets, online retail, and the latest innovations that help successful stores capitalize on shoppers’ unspoken inclinations and desires. All the original chapters have been updated to reflect the current state of our changing consumer culture.

In this new material, Underhill again opens to the contemporary consumer’s eyes and relates how shopping is a good measure of social and global change with information including The latest trends in online retail—what retailers are doing right and what they’re doing wrong—and how nearly every Internet retailer from iTunes, online dating sites, and Amazon can drastically improve how it serves its customers.

Call of the Mall

Americans have a love/hate relationship with the mall. On one hand, we claim to loathe its homogeneity, its white-bread sterility, and its rabid commercialism. On the other hand, we return there time and again—to shop, to dine, to be entertained, to people-watch, or even just to pass the time. In just fifty-some years, the mall has managed to supplant the town square as the centerpiece of our commercial, and often civic, lives. It has become not just an institution, but an icon of American culture emulated around the world.

“It is no surprise that the mall is such an easy target for American self-loathing,” says world-renowned retail anthropologist Paco Underhill. “It’s a lot like television… We disdain it, and yet we can’t stop watching, or shopping.” Founder and CEO of the global research and consulting firm Envirosell, and author of the international bestseller Why We Buy, Underhill knows malls better than almost anyone. Having carried out research jobs in hundreds of mall stores, Underhill has cast his jaundiced eye in over three hundred major malls across the U.S., and many others abroad. He knows what works and what doesn’t—and he’s not afraid to say so. A tacky rack of lipstick testers on the cosmetic counter, insufficient mirrors in the jewelry store, the ho-hum decor of the CD store, the fast-food-place ambiance of the food court—all are fodder for Underhill’s acerbic, highly-informed commentary.

Why We Buy and Call of the Mall are classics of modern retail ethnography.”

“[Underhill] has the social scientist’s uncanny ability to describe what is right under our noses with a lucidity that makes the mundane buying, selling, chowing down, hangout out positively riveting. The picture he leaves us with is surprisingly provocative…. [An] entertaining, unconventional survey.”

“Underhill is a knowledgeable observer … offers first-rate insights with equal measures of humor and rage.”

“The Dalai Lama said, ‘Shopping is the museum of the twentieth century.’ Paco Underhill explains why. Brilliantly.”

Faith Popcorn, author and Future Forecaster

“Thanks, Mr. Underhill for explaining in clear and witty prose why my shopping habits are not all that crazy. Now, please tell my wife!”

Bob Gale, writer/prodcuer of Back to the Future trilogy

“Call of the Mall explains why we shop ’til we drop-all in one spot!”

Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada