The grocery business has undergone major changes since the pandemic began, with a huge shift in consumer spending on food items due to the closing of many restaurants and food service facilities.
According to Supermarket News, grocery shopping on a weekly basis has slipped 20% since the pandemic began, but consumers are spending more on each trip. In fact, research shows that Americans are spending 37% more on each grocery trip than their pre-COVID-19 food shopping purchases.
One of the reasons we’re spending more on groceries is obviously that we’re eating at home more often, but the other reason is that the price of food has skyrocketed. According to USA Today, unprecedented demand for goods coupled with production problems has led to increased prices in grocery stores. Experts say that the cost to bring in masks and sanitizing supplies to protect employees and customers has also contributed to higher retail prices.
Another new trend is that we’re buying more perishable goods since the pandemic swept America. These include fruits — especially healthful berries — vegetables, meat, seafood and dairy products, according to USA Today. The stockpiling and panic that characterized the beginning of the crisis has settled down.
Americans are treating themselves to more sweet treats such a snacks, frozen desserts and chocolate. “Consumers are looking for more everyday indulgences from the grocery channel,” Rick Shea, a Minneapolis-based food consultant said. “Categories like snacking continue to be up because consumers are spending more time at home. It’s a little luxury.”
You will see fewer choices on the shelves. Manufacturers are focusing on producing only their best-selling items, so while you may not see shortages on certain items, aside from cleaning products, you may not find the size or variety you want.
Finally, there is no doubt that online shopping is here to stay, even if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. A recent consumer survey found that 31% of U.S. households use an online grocery delivery or pickup service and 26% of those said they were using a specific service for the first time. A full 43% of the respondents said they are either “extremely likely or very likely” to stick with online grocery buying.
Even if the fear of human contact by shopping for groceries in person dissipates, many said they enjoyed the convenience of online ordering and delivery or pickup, and would continue the practice.
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