Considering new less confusing shop value for shop selling dry food (beans, rice, dried fruits...)

shop=grocery is currently recommended value for such places but this is highly problematic due to significant different use of shop=grocery for small supermarkets for example in USA

I want to propose shop=dry_food for shop selling dry food to have clear value without ambiguity and completely different use across world

Open questions:

Is any of terms I proposed is somehow suboptimal or problematic or can be better? I am not a native speaker?

what should be done with pieces in USA marking small supermarkets? Using shop=grocery as it is done now on some cases will be at least highly confusing

what about shop selling only some specific product? We have shop=rice shop=spices and shop=nuts already.

Should we also have say shop=dry_food dry_food=dry_fruits ? Or is separate top level shop value preferable shop=dry_fruit`?

Personally I would prefer shop=dry_food dry_food= subtagging rather than wild array of shop=dry_beans shop=lentils shop=couscous as top level shop values.

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I find the shop= values get far too granular in many cases for a main tag. For restaurants we have the main tag amenity=restaurant and then the cuisine= attribute to specify what type of restaurant. Meanwhile for shops we have to pick exactly what type of shop it is for the main tag. shop=nuts as a main tag is extremely specific. It would be silly if the main tag for restaurants was restaurant=burger, restaurant=sushi, restaurant=indian, etc.

shop=dry_food seems fine, but then I suppose we’ll also need shop=wet_food. I suggest simplifying to shop=food as the main tag and a shop:food=* attribute for the type(s) of food sold.

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What if reuse the cuisine tag to indicate the prominent items they are likely to carry. This make it easier the indicate that a supermarket is geared towards a certain community. In some case they sell special products used to bbq or create different types of desserts.

A local Indian grocery store shop=grocery cuisine=Indian.

I like the shop:food. Though it feels like it should contain unrelated or special items. For example there are a couple diners that have “brosted chicken”. It is regional but not a common item on the because of the equipment cost and cook time.

The food subtag would allow this amd other specific types of food to be connected with shops and restaurants that sold them or the ingredients or equipment required to make them.

To reference an ongoing discussion in the OpenStreetMap US Slack, there may be general (not a shop=deli, for instance) grocery stores that fall between shop=supermarket and shop=convenience. While some supermarkets may be larger than others, there seems to be a set of grocery stores that really aren’t large at all, yet offer a variety of options that go beyond a convenience store.

shop=dry_food seems fine, but then I suppose we’ll also need shop=wet_food. I suggest simplifying to shop=food as the main tag and a shop:food=* attribute for the type(s) of food sold.

haha, I’m not sure if shop=wet_food will be necessary (though I’d enjoy visiting such a shop!), but I think you make a good point about creating more specific tags that won’t extend the shop=* further. It may be difficult to adjust so many tags on a global level, and this proposal may only gain support if it is sufficiently incremental.

The cuisine=* tags are useful, and should be applied to all of the above, but don’t quite address the store size and scope issues that shop=grocery may help resolve.

Edit: waffled on whether to include my last point

To me, cuisine indicates a style of prepared food dishes, not a type of food ingredient. I would not consider a shopping selling only dry uncooked rice to be cuisine=rice. A place selling prepared (cooked) rice dishes only (either to go or for eating there) would qualify though.

The proposed shop=dry_food tag is equivalent to the concept of a dry goods store in most of the English-speaking world. These stores specialize in grains, preserved foods… the sort of thing you scoop out of a barrel.

In the U.S., stores in this retail category historically sold clothing and textiles as well. However, traditional dry goods stores are much less common than they used to be. In an urban area, some supermarkets have a bulk goods department for scooping foodstuff out of a bin.

Many remaining dry goods stores carry only dry food items and specialize in ethnic cuisines. There’s some overlap with shop=herbalist, shop=spices, shop=rice, shop=nuts, etc., but each of these tags is too limiting. I’ve been using shop=dry_food for ethnic dry goods stores for many years:

I’ve also tried using shop=deli for these stores, but I don’t think it’s a very good fit. The selection isn’t limited to gourmet foods; it typically includes much more mundane snacks. The term “deli” is already so overloaded in English that extending it to include these stores will stretch the tag past its breaking point.

For context, Americans colloquially use the term “grocery store” to refer to any unspecialized food retailer, but it formally only applies to the stores that don’t have a more specific term such as “supermarket”, “convenience store”, or “produce market” (i.e., greengrocer).

I’m pretty sure shop=grocery has always been used in the U.S. for what we would call a grocery store in a more formal sense. Nominatim has also supported this terminology since 2009 by calling it a “grocery shop”. However, in 2014, it was documented as a tagging mistake and deprecated in favor of shop=greengrocer, which contradicted this usage. (We have these too!) Someone soon pointed out that grocery stores are not the same as greengrocers but then proceeded to equate them with dry goods stores. A note distinguishing this tag from American grocery stores was added in 2009, but I think it confuses the colloquial and formal meanings of this term in American English.

The way I always understood it is that a supermarket has departments, such as a meat department, whereas a grocery store is too small to have dedicated departments. Another rule of thumb I use is based on how a customer manages their purchases as they wander around the store:

  • At a wholesale store, you push a flatbed cart or, for smaller purchases, a shopping cart.
  • At a supermarket or hypermarket, you either push a shopping cart or carry a shopping basket.
  • At a grocery store or produce market, you either carry a shopping basket or carry everything in your hands.
  • At a convenience store, you carry everything in your hands or, at a convenience store attached to a gas station, you only use the restroom and pay for gas.

You can easily see how these categories correspond to the store’s size without having to define a specific square footage. They also translate fairly well to the usual :shopping_cart: and :basket: POI icons. Tagging grocery stores as supermarkets is problematic because there’s a huge difference in selection, especially when it comes to ethnic grocery stores.

“Dry food” isn’t an arbitrary category; it correlates to a specific kind of retailer that pulls together any and all dry goods. Some of the dry goods stores I’ve mapped also sell pickled foods in jars, but this doesn’t detract from their primary line of business.


For reference, in Poland this shop type effectively went extinct, but recently some opened as shops selling stuff in reusable containers including ones brought by customes.

Typical one looks like this:

Just to clarify, I didn’t suggest this simply as an argument against shop=dry_food. I was thinking of this store in my town that primarily sells olive oils & vinegars (wet things). Looks like I tagged it as shop=kitchen which is clearly quite wrong. shop=deli might sort of fit, but not really.

A dry goods store is certainly a real type of store, but the point I’m trying to make is that there are all sorts of specialty food stores with very specific product selections and it seems silly to have a primary tag for each and every one.

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shop=specific_food specific_food=olive_oil;balsamic_vinegar ?

shop=food food=olive_oil;balsamic_vinegar ?

Changed to this for now. shop=specialty_food could be another option and it has a few uses.

I guess it just depends how granular we want the shop= values to be. Shop=boutique - deprecation proposal would move towards consolidating clothing stores under shop=clothes. Given that, moving towards consolidation rather than proliferation of more specific food stores would seem to make sense.

I definitely agree on this point. A large, destination supermarket is very different from a small, neighborhood grocery store.

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They existed in the UK about 20 odd years ago, called scoop shops where they sold dry goods at low prices with the emphasis on price. They disappeared but have recently reappeared with the emphasis on being green and reducing packaging waste.


(at least in the UK) those ones have tended to use one of a variety of tags separate to the shop tag to indicate to method of sale. Example rendering here.

However judging by the names quite a lot of the shop=grocery in the UK are actually zero waste / refill shops that are missing zero waste or similar tags. Another tranche are “specialist” grocers dealing with a particular local community’s culinary taste. A quick look at somewhere in the US I’ve visited a few times finds that second sense is common in that area too.

I’m not yet convinced that changing a suggested shop value for “dry_goods” will help? People will still mark the shops that they are mapping which are not primarily dry goods as grocers, just as they do now.

Whereabouts in the USA did you see the problem?

How about wet markets? Wet market - Wikipedia

& judging from some of them that have been shown on TV over the last few years, you can go by yourself, thanks! :roll_eyes:

How about when you use one of these ? Is that enough to make the store a supermarket?

I’m thinking of our local small grocery store that offers either them or carry baskets, which carries a wide variety of groceries, but has it’s butcher section up that corner, a deli counter over there & also a cafe.

Is it =convenience or =supermarket?

Everywhere, unless someone has mass-retagged them to match the wiki’s definition after the fact. It’s hard to answer your question comprehensively because there aren’t a ton of interior photos of each store, but just to give a sense of the square footage involved:

To clarify, this distinction isn’t only about the store’s size, and it isn’t really about the particular kind of cart-basket-wheelbarrow. Indeed, many of the grocery stores I’ve listed above are about the same size as a convenience store, or even smaller:

Another way of looking at it is that these store categories are a matter of degree. As the term implies, a convenience store is where to dash in and out to get a few small items so you don’t have to travel to a grocery store. For some people, a grocery store is where they do most of their week’s shopping; for others, it’s where they routinely supplement the shopping they do at a larger supermarket. The Middle Eastern grocery above is too small to serve most people’s needs, but if it has halal meat and fruits and spices, that’s good enough for some people to need that shopping basket.

As I said, it’s just a rule of thumb I’ve found useful for explaining these plain-English shop categories. As for how to map them to OSM tags, I have very little clue if we’re forced to choose between shop=supermarket and shop=convenience.

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Please don’t get me wrong as I wasn’t trying to be awkward - I think it’s a damn good way of splitting “sizes” of shop, & probably should be written into the wiki as such! :+1:

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Another way to think about the supermarket – grocery store – convenience store spectrum could be selection and stock quantity. A supermarket has a large selection of items and keeps large quantities in stock. A grocery store has a smaller but still decent selection of items, and smaller quantities in stock. Choices within a particular item type may also be more limited at a grocery store. For example a supermarket may have six kinds of milk to choose from while a grocery store could have just one or two. A grocery store may also have a particular focus (ethnicity, organic & natural, etc) that will affect its product selection. A convenience store has an extremely limited selection and limited quantities in stock.

A dry goods store is certainly a real type of store, but the point I’m trying to make is that there are all sorts of specialty food stores with very specific product selections and it seems silly to have a primary tag for each and every one

on the other hand it is useless to have a generic term, because you only would want to be led to this store if you were interested in particular olive oil. The “shop” key already tell it is a shop, the information it is about a specific food is only useful if you know which food. Imagine you were looking for wine or milk and would be directed to this shop, not useful at all.

that is why there definitely should be way to tag this as more detailed tag (food=? specific_food= ? shop:food= ?)