Supply and demand?

Grocery stores and markets look different today compared to three months ago. Or even two months ago! In a past Minute we highlighted the example of toilet paper.  The supply was constant; but Americans shifted the demand. Consequently, we saw bare shelves.

While the TP and paper towel aisle looks better stocked now, we must buy much bigger quantities. It obviously made economic sense for manufacturers to sell bigger packages.

But what’s going on in the rest of the store? In the news we see milk being discarded, crops being plowed under and young animals being “depopulated, culled or euthanized” – whatever the term, this waste is disheartening to say the least. Food banks are stretched. It isn’t logical. We do have supply and we do have demand.

Prior to the pandemic and its lockdown sequela, 50 percent of our meals were eaten from restaurants; today, it’s a fraction. You wonder why the farmer/rancher can’t just shift supply over to retail outlets; but, the supply chain system was so efficient and finely tuned that the food industry calculated and produced and supplied the precise amount to meet the demand.

But instead of eating our chicken nuggets at a restaurant we want real chicken at home and the system wasn’t prepared. Instead of a factory crafting powdered cheese for snack foods, we wanted real cheese at the store. Plants were not tooled to make the shift. Requirements for packaging and labeling was just the beginning of the challenge. Food processors are savvy and innovative and will figure out this challenge but it will take a bit of time.

While it’s yet to be seen if our food buying will change again post-pandemic, we’d be wise to remember that “processed” food from a nutritional standpoint is not our best friend.

So, let’s have a bit of patience now, plan ahead to minimize our waste at home and remember minimally processed food is important to be well,


PS From Minute readers, people ARE keeping to their healthy habits by using a shopping service and NOT adding snack items. Another commenter suggested that few outside commitments (lessons and sports) allowed time to plan and fix real meals. OK, and some smarty lost weight during these weeks!!!



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The Grocery

In class this semester, one of the groups “presented” on the psychology of the grocery store. I love that topic but this semester it gave me pause. Let’s chat.

The things we have long known:

  • bigger carts encourage you to buy more
  • warehouse clubs encourage more buying  (resulting in eating more and wasting more)
  • fruits/veggies/flowers are at the entrance so you feel the freshness, wholesomeness, healthiness of the store
  • candy at the check out aisle is there because you’re exhausted and you deserve a reward by that time
  • the scent wafting from the bakery increases your chance of buying a baked good

So, my thoughts turn to those using grocery shopping services and knowing that Nutrition Minute readers are health conscious:

  • are you buying more/less/same?
  • are you buying more/less/same amount of produce?
  • cooking more from scratch?
  • are you adding SOFAS? solid fats and added sugars like cookies/cakes/pop/snack foods/candy

Dollars spent (pre- and post-quarantine) in the grocery isn’t an accurate comparison since we’ve restricted eating out so much. Did your daily diet get healthier or not so much? Healthier on week one and less so by week 734?

Will share some food trends in another Minute but, in the meantime, would love to hear how and what you’re doing to be well,


PS Share your habits at – I can shield your identity – except for outing my registered dietitian/nutritionist friend who said she’s been ADDING candy to her list!

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