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Popular Groceries People Are Already "Panic Buying," Say Experts

Stockpiling season is officially underway, according to store owners.
frozen pizza aisle at the grocery store

We've all seen this movie before. When COVID-19 first spread across the country earlier this year, Americans en masse made runs on their local grocery stores in an effort to stock up amid rising uncertainty and safety fears. Items such as frozen foods, rice, beans, pasta, immediately vanished from grocery store shelves. Orders for hot dogs at popular stores such as Walmart and Costco skyrocketed nearly 300 percent. Ditto for canned goods, sodas, and, of course, toilet paper. With a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases happening in real time, experts are noting that customers are behaving similarly now, and feverishly stockpiling their pantries and freezers like it's March.

"As of now what we are seeing is the start of the second wave of panic," Chris Mentzer, the director of operations for Rastelli Market Fresh in New Jersey, told Today. "Our customers keep telling me how they are looking for any type of freezer to purchase so they can start stocking up their homes now."

If you're curious to know what people are panic buying right now, read on, because we've listed some of the items right here. And if you're heading out on a shopping trip soon, make sure you're aware of the 8 Signs You're Shopping at the Wrong Grocery Store.

1

Meats

meat aisle
Charles Pittaluga/Shutterstock

According to Mentzer, there's been a sharp uptick in sales for meats that customers can freeze, including beef and poultry, roasts, and steaks.

It's worth noting that grocery stores aren't expecting meat to become scarce, as they're prepared this time around, says Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, a major beef and pork supplier. Though meat companies faced major delays in production this spring due to rampant infections among their employees, new safety protocols should prevent history from repeating itself.

2

Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizza aisle
Shutterstock

"They're also starting to buy a lot of frozen meals and frozen pizzas," Mentzer told Today. "We are seeing anything that can be microwaved quickly or easily made in the oven for kids, fly off the shelves, as people are preparing for schools and colleges to be closed this winter." If you're in the market for a frozen pizza, make sure you're aware of The 11 Frozen Pizzas You Should Never Buy.

3

Baking Goods

flour

Baking was all the rage during the first wave of lockdowns earlier this year, and experts are saying that it's happening all over again. "The dry goods are being well shopped…," said Mentzer. "Yeast and flour continue to be in high demand since they were virtually impossible to get in March and April."

4

Cleaning Supplies

cleaning products
Shutterstock

In August, Clorox's CEO, Benno Dorer, announced that the company is having difficulty keeping up with the global demand for its supplies. "Disinfecting wipes, which are the hottest commodity in the business right now, will probably take longer because it's a very complex supply chain to make them," Dorer explained to Reuters. "We feel like it's probably going to take until 2021 before we're able to meet all the demand that we have."

Shoppers are seeing this to still be the case. "Currently cleaning supplies are the absolute worst in stock position that we are dealing with to date," Mentzer told Today. "National brands are depleted and we have had to turn to local supply companies to bring in more institutional cleaning products just so we have something for the customers to purchase. We foresee this to be an issue for the next year."

6

Dry Goods

variety of beans
Shutterstock

According to Hugh Johnson, CFO of PepsiCo, the company "literally can't make enough" of their Cheetos Mac 'N Cheese right now. Mentzer is seeing similar trends on the ground.

"Dry pasta and sauces are moving at high rates to the point that we have had to outsource other brands since the national brands haven't been available," he said. And whether you're buying in bulk or in moderation, make sure you're never buying The Worst Foods You Should Never Have in Your Kitchen.