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Consequences of the coronavirus: what we will no longer see on grocery store shelves

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything in our lives, and the way we shop for food is no exception. Writes about it Reader's Digest.

Photo: Shutterstock

“As consumers, this is the first time we've seen how fragile the supply chain is,” says Phil Lempert, founder and editor of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com. Even the big companies that make our favorite (and now hard-to-find) brands have had production and supply issues to meet pandemic-level demands.

“I think in the next few months we will see many brands liquidating some SKUs,” Lempert says, referring to the warehouse units or individual products in the brand's lineup.

In today's environment, when the goal is to get out of the store as quickly as possible, too much selection can lead to congestion. Many products and services that we have long taken for granted in grocery stores have already changed or been phased out. Some things may return eventually, though.

Unlimited quantity

Previously, we could buy as many items as we had in stock. But when the coronavirus-related quarantine began in March, people began hoarding hygiene items such as toilet paper, household cleaning products and paper towels. This has drained the supply chain, which is still catching up. This means that stores will have to set restrictions on these items for the foreseeable future.

Rainbow carrot

Before the pandemic, Bolthouse Farms offered more than a dozen varieties of carrots, and now there are fewer than four, said CEO Jeff Dunn. The company has eliminated rainbow carrots and French carrots, which come in a range of purples, reds and yellows. However, you can still buy orange carrots.

On the subject: 9 American stores that you won’t be allowed into without a mask

Self-service stations

Say goodbye, perhaps forever, to salad bars, hot food bars and any other in-store bars where customers can serve themselves, Lempert said.

“Sales there have been falling anyway in the last five or six years. And the salad tongs never cleaned the way they should. Now, in the era of COVID-19, we understand how important this is. “This is the bell of death” for self-service stations, ”says Lempert.

Odwalla

Coca-Cola announced that it is discontinuing Odwalla, its line of smoothies, protein drinks and premium juices. The company says the decision is a result of "consumers are rapidly changing their preferences" and the Odwalla brand is "in constant financial trouble." Lempert says supply chain problems likely led to this decision.

XNUMX hour service

Many stores were previously open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering convenience for shift workers and people who love the nightlife. But when the pandemic hit, most stores cut their opening hours, and Lempert says it's unlikely we'll ever see 24-hour service again. “We don't need this,” he says. "And in order to properly clean and arrange the goods, the stores must be empty."

Smucker's uncrustables

Don't panic - they won't all go to waste. But JM Smucker Co. discontinues production, at least temporarily, of some of Smucker's reduced fat and reduced sugar. This is in line with the trends that Lempert sees. "A lot of people eat more snacks, eat much more comfort foods, and eat more sugar-rich foods." Reducing our intake of fat and sugar doesn't seem to be a top priority at this time, although Lempert says it's too early to say this dietary change will last.

Deli meats

The choice of cuts available in the case of meat has dwindled, in part due to outbreaks of coronavirus in meat packing plants. Meat producers were forced to temporarily close factories, while those that remained open were forced to focus on the production of more basic meat products. Add to that the fact that large orders in restaurants and schools have dropped significantly, and it's no surprise that meat suppliers have had to adapt. As a result, beef and pork production in May decreased by 25% and 15%, respectively, compared to a year earlier.

Frequent sales and promotions

Many brands, as well as some grocery chains, have stopped selling, at least for a while. Companies such as Kellogg, JM Smucker, and Mondelez International (the producer of Oreos and other snacks) have decided to end sales and promotions while the pandemic continues. The move aims to prevent overcrowding and stockpiling by consumers. Lempert says it's also difficult to arrange a sale when you don't know what will be delivered and will be on the shelves. He expects promotions to return to some extent, but not to pre-pandemic levels, noting, "It's expensive for manufacturers and supply chain costs are rising."

Touchscreens

Before the advent of the coronavirus, touch screens were ubiquitous in our world - they appeared not only in supermarkets, but also in fast food restaurants, gas stations and airport check-in counters. On average, 350 different people are drawn to the supermarket checkout every day. Now that we understand the risk of infection these devices pose, experts expect that something - although we don't know what - will replace them. Until then, touch them with your non-dominant hand and use hand sanitizer immediately afterward.

On the subject: 7 everyday items that are more profitable to buy in a pharmacy rather than in a store

Lean Cuisine

Nestlé announced that it is discontinuing several Lean Cuisine varieties, saying their sales do not cover the slowdown they have caused. “While chicken is in demand at the moment,” says Lempert. “The carbonara sauce in this dish is the complete opposite of health,” which may explain why sales are falling. Francis Zelazny, director of marketing for Signals Analytics, says the focus on health in general and immunity in particular is driving many of the decisions consumers make during the current crisis.

Heineken

You may no longer find your favorite Heineken beer in the refrigerator. The company has cut its assortment by 30% due to factors related to the coronavirus. Lawrence Debroux, the company's chief financial officer, said in a conference call that the social distancing measures mean fewer employees now work per shift, slowing production. Debro reportedly said the changes should be temporary, but anything is possible.

Coin Operated Baby Horses

If you, your children, or grandchildren have ever ridden a coin-driven horse near a supermarket entrance, cherish those memories. The next generation of kids may be missing out on this because of the virus and the sanitation problems it presents. In Colorado, Kroger-owned King Soopers have taken horses out of all of their stores where they have been since 1947.

Miscellaneous shop Educational program coronavirus Special Projects

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