8/19/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

Remember the good ole days of grocery shopping when you’d leisurely browse the aisles, picking up what was on your list plus plenty of other items that caught your eye along the way? You’d run into neighbors and stop to chat, maybe even grab a coffee to sip while you shopped. At the last minute, you might even Google a recipe for dinner; and then make another circuit of the store to find all the ingredients! Or, perhaps, head to another store for an unusual item.

Turned Grocery Shopping on Its Head

Well, not anymore! Since COVID, you’re probably eating more at home; as a result, you’re spending more money on food. However, your shopping trips are more than likely a whole lot less random and far much more deliberate than ever before. If you’re like most of us, you’re probably taking advantage of senior hours when stores are cleaner; limiting the trips you make; and limiting the stores you shop and the time you spend in those stores. (32 percent of shoppers told Supermarket News say they’re getting in and getting out of stores in record times these days.) 

One nervous senior in Oregon actually waited in her car for 45 minutes until she could flag down a young woman and ask her to do her shopping for her. The story of this random act of kindness went viral!

Skipping the Stores Altogether

When you don’t want to leave the safety of your home, 28% of shoppers are shopping more online, according to a survey by Supermarket News. Home-delivered meals – either in the form of prepared meals or kits of pre-portioned ingredients and recipes – have provided another great option to put balanced meals on the table.

Some ready-made meal services may be covered or offered at a low cost through Medicare, based on eligibility; these include companies such as Homestyle Direct and Mom’s Meals. Meanwhile, meal kits like HelloFresh and Blue Apron have seen a meteoric rise in their sales. According to Nielsen data, U.S. customers spent approximately $100 million on meal kits for the month ending April 11, 2020. That’s an almost 100 percent increase from this same period last year!

Restaurants Retrofitting Their Offerings

Restaurant chains like Panera, Chick fil-A and Shake Shack as well as some local restaurants have also jumped on the delivered meal kit bandwagon. They’ve come up with pre-portioned packages of their own, based on some of their signature items. Many restaurants are also offering their full menus for takeout – whether through contactless curbside pickup or delivery.

The bottom line is despite the threat of COVID – or perhaps, because of it – balanced, nutritious meals are imperative for our health. It’s important to find ways to get the nutrients we need while staying safe doing it!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones