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Sales at Grocery Stores Increase Amid Stay-at-Home Measures




graphic by Steve Hamburger

Grocery stores are stepping in for restaurants. C+R Research, a solutions-centered market research company based in Chicago, recently examined the ways Americans have changed their grocery shopping habits during COVID-19 by surveying 2,000 consumers. Here’s what they found:

  • 60% of American shoppers are now fearful to shop at a grocery store and 73% are shopping less at physical grocery stores;
  • Grocery delivery has increased 3.5x during COVID-19. Consumers on average took 2.3 weekly trips to the grocery store before COVID-19 and now average only 1 per week;
  • Average weekly grocery spend before COVID-19 was $159; the average weekly grocery spend since COVID-19 has been $184.
  • 50% of consumers have witnessed price gouging and 48% report paying more for certain items at grocery stores;

• 88% of shoppers are unable to find certain items they normally buy, and 46 percent are now buying in bulk; 

• 47% are eating more processed foods.

The price of groceries in the U.S. shot up by 2.6 percent in April, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index released on May 12. This was the largest one-month jump in “food at home” costs since February 1974, CNBC reports

The price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, in particular, rose amid reported shortages during the pandemic, with a 4.3 percent increase compared to last month. Other grocery categories also saw higher prices as people continue to shelter at home: cereals and bakery products (2.9 percent, the steepest single-month increase on record, per the Washington Post), dairy and related products (1.5 percent), fruits and vegetables (1.5 percent), nonalcoholic beverages (2.9 percent), and other food at home (1.9 percent).

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