Pandemic boost for grocers: $6 billion a month

When the pandemic closed schools and restaurants last winter, Americans went to the supermarket to stock up on food for the stay-at-home weeks. Grocery sales skyrocketed by 32 percent last March and have remained strong, averaging $6 billion a month above pre-Covid levels, said the Census Bureau on Wednesday.

For rural grocery stores, the pandemic is personal

Grocery delivery is nothing new, and it certainly has become much more common since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But for stores like Michigan Hometown Foods, which is  the lone grocery in a town of 275 people, the process looks a lot different than it does in a larger city, as Stephanie Parker reports in FERN latest story.(No paywall)

Even as food sellers comply with stricter health rules, workers push for more protections

Cities and states across the country are pushing farmers' markets and grocery stores to enhance their public health measures after officials found some initial attempts at social distancing policies lacking. Yet grocery workers say that in order to effectively prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep themselves healthy, they need more protections and benefits. (No paywall)

Empty shelves will soon be ‘a thing of the past,’ says grocery supply expert

As the novel coronavirus spreads, many people have stocked up on pantry items and paper products in anticipation of hunkering down at home for an extended period, creating temporary shortages of certain products. To better understand the grocery supply chain and how stores are stocked, FERN turned to Dr. Ananth Iyer, a professor of supply chain management at Purdue University and director of the university's Global Supply Chain Management Initiative. (No paywall)

Whole Foods workers begin unionization drive

Some Whole Foods employees are instigating a union drive, according to a letter leaked to the press Thursday. Citing layoffs and falling morale since the company’s 2017 acquisition by Amazon, the workers plan to push for higher wages and better benefits.

Independent grocers outnumber chains in rural America

A new report from the USDA found that while independent grocery stores outnumber chain grocers in rural areas, they account for a smaller percentage of grocery sales.

For Millennials, convenience tops the grocery list

Members of the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, are less likely to go to the grocery store than Baby Boomers or Gen X-ers and spend less per person when they do go to the store, write two USDA economists. "Millennials are demanding healthier and fresher food — including fruits and vegetables — when making food-at-home purchases, and they place a higher preference on convenience than to other generations."

Brown vetoes bill to regulate meal-kit delivery companies

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have required employees at meal-kit delivery companies, like Blue Apron, to obtain food-handler cards for dealing with unpackaged ingredients, reports the LA Times. The bill was sponsored by the companies’ competitors, including the California Grocers Assn. and United Food and Commercial Workers State Council.

Whole Foods’ prices have hardly budged since Amazon takeover

Despite rumors of cheaper groceries, prices at Whole Foods have only decreased by 1.2 percent overall after Amazon bought the company for $13.7 billion five weeks ago, says a study by the research firm Gordon Haskett.