Here’s how American eating habits will change post-pandemic

Two-thirds of Americans are re-evaluating their life priorities because of the Pandemic and that spells a change in American eating habits ahead, according to research from British market research firm Mintel.

Mintel’s Jenny Zegler

“In food and drink, US adults say the pandemic caused the most change in where they eat, how they grocery shop and how they approach their diets. Many of these new habits and attitudes will be routine when “the next normal” arrives in the US. Consumers will have more flexible meal needs, a reliance on ecommerce and a proactive approach to health,” writes Jenny Zegler, associate director of food and drink at Mintel.

(A brief disclosure here. I worked at Mintel from 2012 through the end of 2013, heading it’s food and beverage research group. Jenny worked briefly for me before moving on to bigger and better things at Mintel.)

Continue reading “Here’s how American eating habits will change post-pandemic”

The Pandemic isn’t done, and neither are the food shortages that have come with it

The pandemic has meant shortages of various products at mainline supermarkets for the past two years, from the absence of many low-salt products, to even such items as propane for backyard grills becoming difficult to find.

Expect Pandemic-induced food shortages to continue into the fall for a variety of items.

Expect shortages to persist into this fall, reports Today.com, “Rodney Holcomb, a food economist at Oklahoma State University, told TODAY in an email that we can expect to see a shortage of canned foods, but that this has to do more with the container than the actual food,” Today reports. Apparently even aluminum supplies are being impacted b the pandemic.

Also, “Meat and poultry products will still be tight supplies this fall, not necessarily because of a shortage of livestock or poultry but because COVID has processing plants working at less than full capacity,” Holcomb told Today.

A fine line exists between hoarding and stocking up when you see something you use regularly. I have a small basement freezer where I can store meat, poultry and fish items I find on sale.

Hopefully that stockpile will help me ride out shortages this fall and winter.

Some Berry, Berry good advice on storing berries

My weekly berry haul.

With summer drawing to a close, fresh berries seem to be everywhere in food outlets these days. You can find them from farmers’ markets to your local supermarket, often on sale at the larger outlets. And if you’re hardy, you may even be picking your won at a local farm.

So here’s a guide to keeping those berries fresh as long as possible from Myrecipes.com.

Some tips surprised me — like don’t wash them all as soon as you get home. Wash them as you use them. And don’t store in air-tight containers or zip-lock bags.

I’m not a berry eater myself, but my wife has them every morning with her Greek yogurt, so I buy them weekly for her. Here are some raspberries I bought today, on salt 2 containers for $3.

Wondering what to do with your basil? Here are 87 recipes that use the tasty herb

Growing your own herbs is something you can do inside or out, adding a variety of nee flavors to your food so you won’t miss all the alt you don’t eat any longer. We have an indoor herb garden in winter and big pots of basil outside in summer. So I was happy to see this piece in Epicurious, 87 Basil Recipes, Because You Can Only Eat So Much Pesto Pasta.

The headline appealed to me because I actually don’t like pesto because of the nuts in it, so I’m always looking for other ways to enjoy my basil.

You can see some of my choices in the photo gallery here — basil-topped, thin-crust, low-sodium pizza; basil topped chicken breast with tomato and low-fat mozzarella; and a simple basil and tomato salad.

Let me know your favorites, and which of the 87 you try out.

Give iceberg lettuce a break — it’s ok to like it

Iceberg lettuce tends to get a bad reputation in foodie circles as not as nutritious and healthy as greener types of lettuce like Romaine. But it still has its benefits and so shouldn’t;t be written off, states this article from Eatingwell.com.

My wonderful salmon salad.
My salmon salad, made with leftover salmon. A salad is my lunch daily these days.

“Iceberg lettuce also has a lot to offer when considering the roster of vitamins and minerals it contains. From immune-supporting vitamin A to bone health-supporting magnesium and calcium, it would be a stretch to claim that this lettuce is nutrient-free, as some folks on the internet claim,” the article states.

I tend to buy whichever lettuce I can get on sale during any given week. Iceberg has been featured quite a bit this summer as a sale item by several supermarkets. I buy it because I like it too, and because too many leafy greens mess with the blood thinner I take for a heart issue.

If you can, mix it with greener, leafier types of lettuce in a salad to add texture and a needed crunch to the mixture. If you have to eat a salad every day for lunch as I do, at least make it fun. Enjoy!

Pandemic food price gouging – demand advertised sale prices

The continuing increase in food prices throughout the pandemic has been well documented, in posts I’ve written and elsewhere. And I’ve given tips on how to cope, such as shopping dollar stores that stock produce and buying essential items in bulk.

Today, I ran into one of the most egregious examples of pandemic food price-gouging I’ve seen. My local Jewel, an Albertson’s chain in Illinois, had advertised filet mignon for $5.99 for a six-ounce steak.

Filet is normally the leanest cut of steak and so fits in my efforts to minimize my fat intake. Because it is an expensive cut, I’m always watching for deals and so jumped at the chance to buy some 6-ounce fillets for $5.99 each.

When I arrived at the meat counter of the Jewel in Wilmette, Il., a neighboring suburb, however, the signs posted said the filets were $6,99 each, not the advertised $5.99. Asking the meat counter attendant got me no answer, he had to follow what the sign said, he told me.

So I went to the store service counter. The person there had no answer for the disparity and so called the head of the meat department. She replied that store had decided to charge $6.99, not the advertised $5.99. But since I had complained, she would sell me some for $5.99

Continue reading “Pandemic food price gouging – demand advertised sale prices”

Pandemic stock-up: essentials I’m buying online these days

I’ve been writing a great deal about how the Covid Pandemic has impacted people’s food shopping habits and product availability. You can click here to see a roundup of my posts. With low-salt products disappearing from mainstream supermarket shelves these days, I’ve been forced to do more shopping online.

Shipping charges generally make online shopping more expensive, so I’ve responded by buying non-perishable items in bulk. Here’s a look at items I have now — a six-bottle case of Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce and Mrs’ Dash sloppy Joe, taco and fajita seasoning packets.

I have stocked up on some items I found locally, like Localfolks low-salt, low-sugar ketchup and barbecue sauces. One Whole Foods in my area carries Localfolks, I’m hoping it doesn’t stop any time soon.

You can also see a giant box of low-salt crackers from Costco.

I wrote some tips for bulk storage back in December, you can review those by clicking here.

Stocking your Pandemic pantry — four must-have food products

No-salt, no-fat, no-sugar products have become much harder to find at local food stores during the Pandemic, forcing people like us who want such products to shop online. Online shopping offers more variety, but with shipping it can get very expensive.

So my rule is to buy in bulk to spread the shipping costs over more products. Here’s what I’ve been buying lately:

Essential items in mo no-=salt, no-fat, no-sugar pantry.

Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki marinade, by the case via Amazon

Localfolks salt-free ketchup and barbecue sauce — these I can get at one Whole Foods in a nieghboring subrub, so when I buy, I stock up to cut down on individual driving trips there.

Mrs. Dash salt-free taco and salt-free fajita spice mixtures — these are available on Amaxon and the Healthy Heart Market.

Low-salt, low-fat multigrain cracks — I buy them in the large box you see in this picture at Costco.

Deal shopping — even at Whole Foods

I don;t regularly shop at Whole Foods. I find the prices too high for the value delivered, given that it has so few low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar products on its shelves.

There used to be two low-fat cookie brands offered that I would go specifically to Whole Foods for, but both have disappeared from its shelves, for example.

Also, I find it frustrating that different Whole Foods carry different products so that I ahve to search out the few healthy offerings it does have. An example is the Localfolks brand I’ve blogged about in the past. Localfolks low-sodium ketchup is a must-have for me but I can only find it at one Whole Foods store in a neighboring suburb, rather than the two Whole Foods that are in my town.

So I was at that neighboring Whole Foods recently to stock up on LocalFolks and I decided to scan the aisles to see what other low-salt items I coudl find, and what deals I could find in that high-priced environment. I discovered soem items were on sale — but only for Amazon Prime members. Amazon owns Wholoe Food these days and seems to be struggling to find synergies. These meber-only sales are one fo those.

I’m a Prime member and have download the special Amazon Prime/Whole Foods app. I also carry my Prime credit card since at times there are deals for using that there as well.

Deals at Whole Foods? You can save some money if you shop smart there. Here’s a recent trip of mine during whihc I saved 12% off of full prices on some low-salt products.

My quest turned up two Localfolks low-salt barbecue sauce on sale, with an extra 10% off for Prime members, and a low-salt salad dressing on sale with the extra 10% off as well. I saved $6.73 on a $54.79 bill, roughly a 12% savings.

When I shop at traditional supermarkets, I normally aim to save at last 33% off of full prices, so 12% isn’t in that league. But it’s pretty good for a Whole Foods trip, a testament to smart shopping.

Product Review: Organicville No-salt-added dressing — thumbs up!

I’m always searching for new low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar products to add some taste to my otherwise bland diet. I recently found something new at Whole Foods, a store I don’t normally frequent because of its high prices and lack of many low-salt, low-fat products.

But Organicville No Added-salt Italian dressing was not only low-salt, but on sale for Amazon Prime members the day I was shopping. Normally $4.49 a bottle, I got it for $2.49 — still a high price for a relatively small bottle (keep in mind I buy my olive oil in large bottles at Costco).

An interesting new low-salt dressing option.

The dressing has only 5 mgs of salt per two tablespoons, so even if you drench your salad in it, like I tend to do, the salt content is relatively low. Its 4 grams of fat per two tablespoons also is low. And it tastes more interesting than plain oil and vinegar. The label talks about “zest” — I think that’s the pepper you taste.

One note of caution, though. The product is not shown on the Organicville site, so it may be discontinued. Perhaps that’s why it was on sale? I hope not. I’d like to think it’s new and so not yet listed on the site. But given how many low-salt products have been cut during the Pandemic, I’m a little worried. Buy this while you can, it may not be around much longer.

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