Pandemic food causalities — low- and no-salt products continue to disappear from store shelves

The Pandemic, and how supermarkets and other food sellers have reacted, has certainly made it more difficult to eat healthy. Last Thanksgiving, for example, I wasn’t able to find fresh, low-salt turkeys at Costco for the first time in years.

A recent buy from Healthy Heart Market.

Readers also keep writring me to tell me low-salt products I’ve written about in the past are no longer aavilable at Trader Joes, so I’ve created the hastag #ShameonTraderJoes.

Here’s a list of items I was able to buy pre-pandemic which are no longer available on store shelves in my area:

  • Trader’s Joe’s salt-free shrimp sauce.
  • Trader Joe’s salt-free marinara sauce
  • Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce
  • Salt-free fresh turkeys at Costco
  • Low-fat frozen yogurt at Costco (chocolate was dropped pre-Pandemic, but vanilla is gone now too, replaced by ice cream)
  • Low-salt canned olives at several retailers (others still have them)
  • Trader Joes salt-free wheat bread (this disappeared before the pandemic, but its worth mentioning for #ShameonTraderJoes)

Stores are stocking the highest volumes products they sell now, and dropping others to simplify thier supply chain problems. And tjhose of us wanting to eat healthy are suffering as a result.

eI’ve turned to more stocking up when I do find items that can be stored. I’ve also done more shopping online at Amazon and Healthy Heart Market, despite the higher prices and shipping costs involved. I’m willing to pay those prices now, I want to survive this Pandemic and that means not letting the virus, or salt kill me.

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic changing how we food shop, and eat, new research confirms

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major changes in the way Americans shop for their food, and in how they feel about grocery shopping, reports marketing firm Influence Central in new research it recently published.

Among the findings:

• 72% of consumers are going to the grocery store less frequently than they did before the pandemic.
• Consumers now overwhelmingly prefer shopping online with home delivery, followed by drive-by or curbside pickup, as opposed to actually going into a store to shop.
• 56% of consumers say they feel anxious about forgetting to pick up or not being able to find specific foods when shopping in-store.

My local Food 4 Less supermarket ona recent trip. I couldn’t wait to get out because of pandemic fears.

I’ll be doing several posts on this research. It quantifies and reinforces a lot of the anecdotal shopping experiences I’ve already been writing about, plus provides more details about what people are buying.

More than half of families’ eating habits have changed as they’ve been staying at home with 70% snacking and eating more frequently than they did pre-pandemic. And it’s not clear if they’re eating healthier or simply throwing down more junk food.

  • 43% eat more fruit and
  • 42% eat more vegetables,
  • 30% are eating more protein in the form of meat, poultry or fish.
  • 47% are turning to more sweets,
  • 24% have decreased their vegetable intake,
  • 21% east less fruit and 19% are eating less protein.

Continue reading “Covid-19 Pandemic changing how we food shop, and eat, new research confirms”

Trader Joe’s shopping in the pandemic. Hurry up and wait

I took my first trip to a Trader Joe’s in more than two months this week, which also means it’s my first trip there since the Coronavirus pandemic swept the globe. I had to wait on line to get in when the store opened for senior shopping at 8 a.m. But once inside, I found the items I wanted and even a few I don’t normally buy there.

I went to a checkout lane with no one waiting in front of me, but the checkout was a sad moment for me, so much different from the pre-pandemic Trader Joe’s.

Shopping at Trader Joe's
The line I encountered waiting to get into a Chicago-area Trader Joe’s. These were all seniors waiting for the 8 a.m. opening of the store for senior shopping.

Checkout clerks now are surrounded by plastic shields. I was asked to push my cart to the clerk but to remain at the six-foot away line on the floor while she checked out my items.

Once she was done, she asked me to walk past her and her sheild to the card processing terminal to pay and leave.

The usual friendly banter with the clerk was gone. I am someone who looked forward to talking to those clerks when I shopped there. Chalk it up to me being an old man with few, if any friends nearby anymore.

Those days of chatting at the checkout are gone. Continue reading “Trader Joe’s shopping in the pandemic. Hurry up and wait”

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