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Shoppers ‘comfort buying’ in grocery stores amid COVID-19 pandemic

Shoppers are stocking up on snack foods during COVID-19 crisis.
Shoppers are stocking up on snack foods during COVID-19 crisis. Kendra Slugoski

Chances are, if you’re not in quarantine or self-isolation, you’ve stepped foot in a grocery store in an effort to pick up supplies amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Chances are, you’ve had to readjust your shopping list to make do with what is and isn’t available in some stores.

READ MORE: Canadians ‘do not need to panic’ about food shortages amid COVID-19, experts say

Grocery clerks tell Global News items that normally haven’t been big sellers are now topping lists and filling carts; powdered milk is one of those items.

What else are people buying?

Tracie Millar, a longtime employee at Andy’s IGA at 9106 – 142 St. NW in Edmonton, said the staples — canned goods, toilet paper and flour have been a must-buy for shoppers.

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Millar added the store and its staff have been working around the clock to keep the shelves stocked.

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“Things are crazy but controlled,” said Millar.

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The other most-wanted item that surprised her — snack food.

“I think people are comfort buying as well as staple buying,” Millar said.

“We had double the chip order from the guy on the weekend and it’s all gone.”

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READ MORE: People hoard essentials as coronavirus fears rise, but panic buying isn’t necessary: experts

Andy’s IGA said along with adjusting its orders to make sure the shelves are full, the grocery store added an emergency delivery service for the most vulnerable people in the neighbourhood.

Millar said the local store wants to make sure food gets delivered to customers that are stranded and don’t have family and friends to help them. Volunteers get a text from Andy’s IGA and arrive with trunks open to collect the groceries.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Major Canadian grocers to offer special hours for seniors to stock up

David Duarte-Hui runs Fatima’s Discount Food store at 11809 – 66 St. NW in Edmonton and said products that usually take a week to sell are gone within an hour.

“We had face masks all year long,” said Duarte-Hui, “now they’re all gone.”

Alberta grocery stores adapt to help stop spread of COVID-19
Alberta grocery stores adapt to help stop spread of COVID-19

Kale is also topping grocery lists.

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“Frozen kale, fresh kale, chopped kale is selling really, really well.”

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Duarte-Hui admits his family has also stocked up with more chips than usual.

“Chips always sell.”