Go into almost any supermarket this week and you will encounter something rarely seen in American life: barren shelves.
From frozen vegetables to toilet paper, many grocery stores have been cleaned out by a panicked public. The coronavirus pandemic has led large numbers of consumers to engage in hoarding behavior, leaving some others struggling to find basic staples.
Meanwhile, many restaurants have closed their doors, either by choice or by government order. At the same time, large swaths of the workforce have been ordered to work from home, joining the legions of freelance workers already accustomed to the work from home life. As many states enforce mandatory lockdown orders, many are finding themselves having to rely on home-cooked meals to sustain themselves.
To help remote workers navigate the grocery store madness, here’s some sage advice on how to shop smart in the age of COVID-19:
Buy Only What You Need
The impulse to pile your cart with every box of your favorite snack, or all of the eggs and canned good you can carry, may be strong—but do your best to resist.
Government authorities are strongly urging citizens to buy only what they need for a week or two. The pandemic is not the kind of disaster that is expected to disrupt the food supply chain. Buying only what you need ensures that everyone in your community has a chance to feed their families as well.
While grocery stores continue to restock their shelves as fast as they can, you should expect that not everything on your shopping list will be available.
Prepare for the prospect of finding alternative products, or creative substitutes for ingredients you need for certain recipes.
Officials advise making as few trips as possible.
So while you shouldn’t hoard, be prepared to buy enough food to last you up to two weeks. Buying shelf-stable foods such as frozen food, dry goods, and canned goods can help you make sure the food you buy doesn’t go bad in between trips. Make a list before going to the store to avoid making impulse purchases, and cut down on the time you have to spend away from your home. This is no time to browse.
While most grocery stores are open during the current pandemic, many are adjusting operating hours—so be sure to check that your local store is open before making a trip. Wherever possible, place your grocery orders online ahead of time for curbside pick or delivery. These services will help reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 by limiting person-to-person contact.
Stop the Spread
These smart grocery shopping practices will not only help keep you and your family safe and fed but will help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The more we follow the advice and guidance of public health officials, the faster the virus will run its course and the sooner we can return to a more normal way of life.