COVID-19 pandemic has raised grocery prices and changed shopping habits

Posted at 3:46 PM, Sep 21, 2020

Grocery prices are still much higher than this time last year. We're paying more than 4% more.

The USDA says prices are still expected to increase between 2.5% and 3.5% this year.

The vice president of operations for one pasta brand says the price increase is related to promotions being canceled. He says manufacturers haven't had to offer them because of how sales have been.

The pandemic has changed shopping habits too.

“Many people keep lists, but not everyone, so people really like those impulse purchases,” said Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst at Mintel. “They like seeing kind of what the new things are, so I think in the future, we're going to see a great emphasis on figuring out how to sort of translate that for e-commerce and translating that even for the efficient grocery shopping, so maybe some of it is done in marketing, maybe some of it happens outside the store.”

Bartelme says her company's research shows that even when the pandemic is over, people say they plan to do more home cooking. She says not to expect all the changes we've seen with store design to go away either.

“I definitely think in store design going forward, we're going to see a lot more emphasis on safety and wider aisles and maybe putting in some of those technologies right at the start that can make these things more efficient and a way to pivot and be flexible when this or another type of issue comes up.”

Another trend she expects to continue is people having an interest in supporting local with how they're getting their groceries.