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While the Citizens of Atrius literally eat their currency (Meal) they also sometimes purchase fancier foodstuffs that are loaded with different flavors.

Similuar to the way things are in Cuba, art is a government job. If you draw art professionally the government is free to plaster your image on coffee mugs, tote bags, or whatever else they think will sell. In Atrius, aestetic food or the crafting of any non-Meal foodstuffs is an art form, and the store TJ is in is a low-key art gallery, but for food.