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6 Grocery Shopping Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make Right Now

Food prices are increasing during the pandemic.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and grocery stores across the country see shortages on certain food items, it's more important than ever to make sure you're being smart at the grocery store. Yes, that can mean buying shelf-stable foods or freezing meat to limit trips to the store, but it also means being financially smart about what you buy.

Here are some grocery mistakes you shouldn't make during the pandemic and exactly how to avoid them. And for more tips, here's How to Save Money on Groceries During the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Mistake: Buying meat for every meal.

Woman shopping for meat

Even if your grocery store doesn't have limits on how much meat you can buy, meat prices are increasing. We're talking about serious price jumps here—one Eat This, Not That editor saw ground beef prices increase by $4 a pound!

You'll save money by swapping in plant-based proteins like beans in at least some of your meals. For some easy ways to get started, here are 33 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Even Carnivores Will Love.


Mistake: Thinking eggs are a price-savvy substitute for meat.

eggs in carton on wood table

In general, eggs are one of the cheapest animal proteins out there. But during the pandemic, the cost of eggs has risen substantially. If you can afford them, don't be afraid to stock up, but know that they might cost significantly more during the coronavirus' spread.

And for more price hikes to be aware of, These Are the Foods Getting More Expensive During Coronavirus.


Mistake: Not checking dairy prices.

gallons of milk at costco

Thanks to supply-chain issues, the costs of milk, ice cream, and cheese have increased during the pandemic, according to Today. And customers aren't the only ones paying the price: Farmers have dumped millions of gallons of milk they can't sell.

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Mistake: Thinking packaged foods aren't increasing in price.

flour container

You've heard about meat and dairy prices increasing, but that's not all to look out for. Today reported that prepared baking mixes and flour have increased in cost, as have sugar and sugar alternatives. There could be a price to all that stress-baking you're doing.


Mistake: Stockpiling pantry staples.

brown rice

While it is a good idea to limit trips to the grocery store, don't load up on things like pasta, rice, and cereal without checking the prices first. These items are also seeing increased prices during the pandemic, according to Today.

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!


Mistake: Steering clear of the produce aisle.

vegetable aisle at grocery store

The one positive thing about all of these price increases? According to Today, the price increases on fresh fruits and vegetables aren't as high by percentage as the price increases for foods like pasta or meat. Still, be sure to read the signs—popular fruits like apples could be significantly more expensive. Think of this as your incentive to try something new!

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
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Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This