Though the prevalence of heavy butifarra sausage suggests some cheating, Barcelona is famous for its healthy Mediterranean diet—a cultural preference that has helped traditional vendors of local produce, seafood, and some processed items compete with agribusiness’ packaged options. The average Barcelona family spends about $700 a month at the markets, most of it on fresh vegetables, according to a 2013 consumption study by the Barcelona city administration.
Though no law prevents the traditional markets from stocking items such as cleaning supplies, batteries, or packaged snack food, the vendors typically leave that to the chains. Rather than compete, independent sellers benefit from supermarket shoppers who come in need of modern essentials, then find it convenient to pick up a tomato or half a kilo of shrimp a few steps away.
(Photo: Marc Herman)