These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now – Eat This, Not That
The grocery industry has faced major disruption. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change and economic uncertainty over the past two years have resulted in a series of supply chain disruptions. For the consumer, this means that supply shortages, shipping delays and temporary store closures are increasingly common – and all the extra production costs for suppliers drive up food prices.
the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Report for January 2022 was released on February 9 and tells the story of cost trends for each expense category over the past year. Now the numbers are in and since January 2021, “food at home” spending has increased by 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, consumer behavior analyst and founder of Supermarket GuruRecount Eat this, not that! “Anything that is noticeably less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal,” Lempert said. “When you see these products that have minor decreases, it’s time to stock up.
So what should you buy at the supermarket to save money? While unexpected fluctuations are inevitable over the next few months, there are five food items we’ve noticed hitting grocery chains recently.
Related: 6 Things You’ll See At Costco This Year
Due to a myriad of supply chain complications over the past year, meat prices have risen to such an extent that consumers are looking for suitable protein-rich alternatives.
However, the January 2022 CPI report showed a fall in seasonally adjusted prices of 0.4% for meat from November to December 2021, and the most recent report showed declines of 0.3% for beef and poultry.
This downward trend in costs may be temporary, but the Biden administration is poised to help drive prices down further. CNN reported that the White House plans to allocate $1 billion from the U.S. bailout to help independent meat producers compete with larger suppliers, increasing price competition and reducing costs for buyers.
It’s unclear how these antitrust efforts will affect the meat in the long run, but for now, you’ll likely see the list price drop a bit.
Another way to save on meat? Cut out the middleman and buy your beef from a local butcher.
Nothing says romance like a red box of chocolates. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, USA today found the best deals to accommodate your loved one’s sweet tooth. And stores will continue to tag their heart-shaped goodies at the end of the holiday. Last year, a few days after February 14, Walmart shoppers saw 75% off candies and seasonal chocolate.
If you’re looking to replenish your supply of goodies for cheat days at bargain prices, you’ll want to hit the seasonal aisle right after celebrating with that special someone (especially if that person is you!)
There are many reasons to buy seasonal products – the products are at the peak of their freshness, with maximum nutrient content and flavor – but one of the main selling points could be the reduced price. When fruits and vegetables are in season, the supply is more plentiful and stores will adjust the price according to demand.
So what should you be looking for deals on? According to USDA Seasonal Produce Guidegreens like Brussels sprouts and kale, hearty root vegetables like parsnips, potatoes and yams, and fruits like avocados and winter squash are all harvested in time for the months the coldest.
And if you’re not sure what to cook with your seasonal grocery stash, we’ve got some recipe ideas for when you’re packing indoors.
When trying to save in the supermarket aisle, here’s a tip: choose the generic version of the item on your list rather than the brand name. Stores increased their private label offerings to provide shoppers with comparable products at a 20 to 25% price reduction.
While some off-brand versions of your branded favorites aren’t up to snuff, they can often come from exactly the same supplier. For example, fans of Trader Joe’s, the grocer beloved for its iconic brand that does everything from kale chips to ice cream, noticed that their chocolate chip cookies and green smoothies looked a lot like bigger names like Tate’s Bake Shop and Naked respectively, as reported by Eater in 2017 – even having the same ingredient list.
The only difference is that one is packaged with the household name, while the other comes with the store label. So, by making the exchange, you can enjoy the taste and quality you love without emptying your wallet.
In some cases, buyers might even start to prefer the house brand over the big brand. “Private brands are getting better. For example, Trader Joe’s does a phenomenal job of producing their private label, and their quality sometimes exceeds the big brands,” Lempert said.
The dollar store General dollar has 17,000 locations across the United States and has worked on fresh food supply in nearly 1,800 of their stores. For those living in rural communities, the expansion provides easier access to healthy food products at affordable prices.
The dollar store usually doesn’t carry consistent products, but what they do sell is heavily discounted. “You have to be more flexible when you’re in these stores, but you’ll save a lot of money,” Lempert said.
the Dollar General website even offers online checkout, providing real-time store product availability details and allowing customers to order items for pickup at their nearest Dollar General store. So if you’re trying to plan your meals on a budget, this is the perfect way to pack your groceries and avoid getting distracted by all those extra temptations.