The USDA added Florida and Idaho to its list of states where SNAP recipients are allowed to purchase groceries online. Ten states, with 34.5 percent of food stamp enrollment, now have government approval of the online option, which could reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure.(No paywall)
With millions of Americans sheltering in place, many are opting to buy groceries online for home delivery to reduce risk of exposure to the coronavirus. But that isn't an option for most people who receive federal food assistance from the USDA. Now, states are asking the department to address the issue, but the agency hasn't said whether it will update the policy. (No paywall)
A Canadian grocery and pharmacy chain says it will close 22 stores and launch home delivery in Toronto in December and Vancouver in January.
The government lowered its forecast of grocery inflation this year to a barely noticeable 0.25 percent, due to ample meat supplies, and in its first forecast of the coming year, estimated grocery prices would rise by 1.5 percent in 2018. It would be the fourth year in a row of lower-than-average growth in retail food prices.
The traditional supermarket is losing its attraction for grocery shoppers, who increasingly buy their food at supercenters, dollar stores and club stores, although supermarkets remain the dominant retailer. Three USDA economists found correlations between where people buy their food, their income levels and what they buy.
Recent declines in the retail price of beef, veal, poultry and eggs are contributing to a 1 percent drop in grocery prices this year, the largest instance of food deflation since 1959, said the Agriculture Department. Going into the final month of the year, grocery prices are running 1.2 percent below their 2015 level, thanks to the strong dollar and low petroleum prices.
When Americans shop for turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and other ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, they will get a break on prices for the second time in seven years. The price tag for groceries to cook a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people would total $49.87, said the largest U.S. farm group, which has conducted the informal survey of grocery prices since 1968.
U.S. food prices will rise by a marginal 1 percent this year, the second-smallest increase since 1974, and it's all due to lower grocery prices, said a government forecast. Groceries, which are the bulk of food spending, would cost less this year than they did in 2015 — the first taste of price deflation at the supermarket since 1967.
Americans aren’t eating out like they used to, and restaurants are feeling the pain. According to Bloomberg, U.S. restaurant sales “grew in the second quarter at their slowest pace since 2009,” partially because customers find it too expensive to eat out. Restaurants have had to raise menu prices to keep up with higher minimum wages and other cost factors, while grocery prices have dropped for the last 10 months straight.
When the largest U.S. farm group sent 59 shoppers into supermarkets to check the prices of food for a fall meal, they found the tally, on average, was down by a surprisingly large eight percent from a year ago.