The current food shopping environment – online, curbside – calls for new food shopping ‘rules’ or tips. Food costs continue to rise – a survey finds that 78% of mostly smaller companies are passing these costs on to consumers. More and more groups are entering this new shopping environment…consider that those receiving SNAP benefits may be able to shop online with club retailers.
Note: About those rising prices…here’s an interesting article about how much consumers in the U.S. and U.K. are willing to pay for some categories of food.
Your values, preferences…save gas, save the environment
With gas at its highest price since 2008 why wait in the drive-thru lane and waste gas? Foods you can make at home instead of ordering at a fast-food/fast-casual restaurant include smoothies, breakfast wraps, and overnight oats. Concerned about the environment? Making coffee and iced tea at home reduces the number of plastic bottles you use. The nice thing about making your own iced tea – you can mix different teas for different flavors, add fruit or spices such as cinnamon or cloves for flavor.
Routine is not your friend
When your favorite food gets too pricey is there another brand that costs less that could become your new favorite? Read online reviews – more than a few and from different sources – to help you find an alternative. Or ask people you know for suggestions.
Know possible pitfalls, costs, your spending habits
BNPL (buy now, pay later) is fast becoming a ‘thing’ as retailers add it as an option but are there risks to the shopper? If you think BNPL isn’t for food purchases, consider this article: I bought a burrito from Chipotle in 4 easy payments. An upcoming free webinar to learn more: Understanding Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) March 22, 2022 at 11 AM – 12:30 EDT. Register @ https://oneop.org/event/117019/. (Note: If you miss the webinar, you can find the recording online after the event.)
Isn’t curbside pickup free? Additional costs you may not have considered: tipping the person who delivers your order and this interesting data point from 2021: pickup orders spend more.
Will online food ordering change your spending behavior? Will you spend more? Here are two examples: Taco Bell’s subscription – members visit more often and buy more and delivery of prepared meals from select grocery stores via the Ready Meals Hub within the Instacart app saw users ordering more frequently and adding more items to orders.
When you buy online do you lose track of shrinking food packages? It may be harder to track package sizes when you don’t handle the packages in the store. Here are the latest examples of smaller packages – smaller Gatorade bottles, fewer cookies. Track shrinking packages ().
Fees – new and old
Uber adding surcharge due to high gas prices for deliveries including food;
Delivery fees, minimum orders, membership fees, markups on food – here is one example of apps vs. in-store prices.
Good news! Giant has slashed fees, order minimums on certain days of the week.
Comparisons of grocery delivery services including fees: comparison of grocery delivery services available in 2022; 2 RDs review Instacart; RDs review 2021 grocery delivery services.
Online tools…saving money apps: Marisa Moore, RDN, rates and reviews nutrition apps including meal planning and saving money; online weekly ads (schedule in your phone’s calendar).
Articles: Pros/cons online grocery shopping (https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/pros-cons-online-grocery-shopping) and (https://www.upmcmyhealthmatters.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-online-grocery-shopping/).
Other resources: Some recipe sites include ratings and recipe costs but the prices may be outdated with recent price hikes. Community resources include food pantries, farmer’s markets, WIC, SNAP, local farms/CSAs, Extension, public health.