Skip to content

Here's What Happens to All Those Groceries on "Supermarket Sweep"

Host Leslie Jones confirmed that nothing on set goes to waste.

In case you missed it, Supermarket Sweep is back on the air with brand new episodes. That's right, the grocery-store-themed game show that kept so many of us entertained in the '90s has been revived. The new version premiered on ABC in mid-October and is hosted by Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones. It's been revamped slightly, though the format should still be familiar to fans who grew up on it. And, of course, it all still hinges on timed shopping sprees through the show's grocery store set. And if you've ever wonder what happens to all the food on Supermarket Sweep, you're not the only one.

In the comments section of an Instagram post previewing Sunday night's new episodes (it airs at 8 p.m. ET), a fan asked Jones about that very topic. "Hoping you may see this and end a longggg discussion with my husband," the fan wrote. "Are the perishable items in the store real? Like the meats? What do you do with them when they expire?"

"Yes but we don't let them expire," Jones responded. "We donate them before so meat may be on one day then we switch out. We don't let food spoil [—] too many hungry folks."

Jones didn't elaborate on where it's donated, but a representative for the show, which is filmed in Los Angeles, gave the details to Today.

"A total of 95 pallets of perishable and non-perishable foods were donated to local charities, of which included The LA Food Bank, Food Finders, Food Cycle LA, The LA Mission and Downtown Woman's Shelter—to name a few," the Supermarket Sweep spokesperson said in a statement. They also explained that pet food and any leftover meat that's perfectly safe for animals but not for people is donated too, offering The Rancho Wildlife Foundation and "local pet welfare organization" The Rescue Train as examples of beneficiaries.

For more fun facts about the beloved game show, keep reading. And for more series that have been going for years, check out The 40 Longest-Running American TV Shows of All Time.

Supermarket Sweep premiered in the '60s.

Supermarket Sweet 1965 credits

Chances are, your memories of Supermarket Sweep are of the version that premiered in 1990, aired on Lifetime, and was hosted by David Ruprecht. But did you know that the series first aired on ABC back in 1965? The black-and-white version was hosted by Bill Malone and ran through 1967. Much of it is lost to TV history, but you can find some blurry clips on YouTube. Above is screen grab of its animated opening credits.

For more shows that are getting up in years, check out 30 Beloved TV Shows You Won't Believe Are 30 Years Old.

They weren't always so conscientious about food.

David Ruprecht and contestants on Supermarket Sweep

In 2015, former host Ruprecht told Great Big Story that the food on the '90s incarnation's set was used for the whole season. "We shot for about five months, six months, every year," he said, "and they used the same food over and over again. So by about the third month, the hot dogs had sort of started to ferment in the package and the package swelled up, and a lot of the food, having been thrown in and out of carts for three, four months, had gotten beaten up." He also said that a lot of the meat used was fake, but still. Gross!

The designer who created the first Supermarket Sweep set is also responsible for a very famous wheel.

Supermarket Sweep 1991

Art director Ed Flesh was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work designing the "grocery store" that contestants raced through back in the '60s. But his biggest claim to fame has to do with another game show: Flesh also designed Wheel of Fortune's wheel.

For more TV trivia sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The producers told contestants what to do during their intros.

Supermarket Sweet contestants 1991

Contestants in the new version are spared this, but in the older Supermarket Sweep, every team of two did a little routine during their intro, whether that be bumping hips, giving high fives, what have you. Contestant Mike Futia told The A.V. Club that he and his girlfriend "always used to make fun of the people when [they] were watching" but learned that "there's no choice in the matter."

"We always used to laugh and say, 'Why would someone choose to do that?'" he continued. "But they didn't choose. [The producers] told you to do that because they want some variety." Futia's direction? To do a thumbs up to the camera, something he said his family still makes fun of him for today.

Only the losers kept their sweatshirts.

Supermarket Sweep team in matching sweatshirts

Futia told The A.V. Club that he was disappointed that, as winners, his team didn't get to keep their matching sweatshirts. Those—and only those—are what the losers walked away with. Ruprecht confirmed in his Great Big Story interview that the sweatshirts were, in fact, the sole consolation prize.

For marathons you can share with everyone in your household, check out 13 Classic TV Shows the Whole Family Will Love.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
Filed Under