Idaho Dispatch

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Exclusive: Idahoans Buying More Generic-Brand Foods, Changing Stores, Giving Up Non-Essential Groceries

By • June 14, 2022

According to an informal survey conducted by Idaho Dispatch, Idahoans are moving to more generic brands, cutting back on non-essential food items, changing where they shop, and more.

Idaho Dispatch received 42 responses from our non-scientific survey sent out to our email subscribers. Responses came from all over Idaho but do not necessarily reflect every Idahoan’s situation.

Here are the locations some of the responses came from: Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Middleton, Idaho Falls, Rigby, Inkom, Post Falls, Kamiah, Emmett, Notus, Murphy, Rathdrum, Oldtown, Bonners Ferry, Homedale, Garden City, and Smelterville.

Idaho Dispatch asked three primary questions in our survey, summarized as follows:

  1. Are there grocery items you are no longer buying?
  2. Are you buying more generic brands, or did you always use generic brands?
  3. What items are you no longer seeing on the shelves that you usually buy?

Overall, many respondents said that they were cutting back on snack-type items such as chips, cookies, crackers, and other “non-essential” food products.

Annette from Nampa told Idaho Dispatch,

I have reduced the extra goodies/snacks and have moved to support local small businesses for meat and vegetables, as I can I will find small farms to purchase from.

Despite cutting out snacks, 25% of the respondents mentioned that they are also cutting out various forms of meat. Some said they were cutting higher quality meat, bacon, fish, chicken, or other forms of meat from their budgets because the prices were too high.

In addition to meat being cut from some Idahoan’s grocery budget, fresh fruits and vegetables also seem to be getting cut, with some respondents saying they are increasing their own garden output.

Here is what Gary from Emmett told Idaho Dispatch about cutting vegetables from his grocery store budget and increasing what comes out of his garden instead (emphasis from Idaho Dispatch),

Way less meat; more homemade soups; increased out garden output, since vegetables have increased dramatically.

Ten percent of those who answered our survey specifically mentioned more at-home gardening efforts to fight the cost of higher prices at the store. Other respondents could also be growing more food at home, but it was not a question Idaho Dispatch had asked.

In addition to cutting specific items out of their grocery budgets, many respondents said they were moving to more generic brands. For example, 36% of survey participants said they were moving to more generic brands, while some individuals were already using generic.

Some respondents said they were moving to a mix of generic items versus some brand items, while a few said they were not changing to generic brands and just dealing with the higher prices instead. A few respondents also said they had already tried to avoid pre-packaged food in the first place, and some did not want to change to a lower-quality brand, even if it was cheaper.

Another note from the survey, although not a question asked by Idaho Dispatch, was respondents saying they are now using different stores to do their shopping. Ten percent of the respondents mentioned changing stores as part of their new buying habits.

One person from Caldwell, who wished to remain anonymous, told Idaho Dispatch,

I used to mostly shop at Costco except for limited items they didn’t carry and I got those at Winco or Walmart. During the mask mania, I outright stopped shopping at Costco and found out about the Chef Store. During that time, I mainly shopped at Winco and the Chef store and I have continued shopping there. I have resumed some shopping at Costco, but much less than I did previously. Costco used to be the clear low price and high-quality option, but that’s not true anymore. I also observe that Winco makes an effort to not arbitrarily raise prices and they are undercutting other stores without losing quality. Winco fresh fruit beats everyone and this makes a difference in what fruit I buy, looking for sale prices of seasonal fruit.

Several respondents also said they had to cut grocery costs to pay for gas. One respondent noted that fuel was “eating their lunch.”

Another individual said they are cutting down on how many meals they eat daily. Wade from Rigby responded to Idaho Dispatch’s survey, stating in part,

We are definitely buying much less and have shifted to eating two meals a day instead of three. We have also changed our eating habits, instead of the higher end foods which are no longer possible, we’ve moved to eating cheaper foods that are not as healthy for you.

Regarding items that are missing from shelves, Idaho Dispatch received a wide array of answers. Some respondents listed items that were still out of stock, while others said that missing items from shelves seemed different each week.

Here are a few of the items (not all food related) mentioned in our survey as missing (some of them were brand-specific):

Beans, Rice, Store-Brand Chips, Distilled Water, Macaroni, Eggs, Dishwashing Detergent, Sodas, Baby Formula, Tuna, Cat Food, Paper Plates, Paper Towels, Gravy Mixes, Cereal, Re-Loading Supplies, Ramen, Gluten-Free Items, Canned Items, and Dairy Items

A few of the respondents said that gluten-free items were a necessity for their dietary needs and that supplies of gluten-free items are becoming more scarce.

Finally, several individuals mentioned that they were skipping out on visiting family because of the high fuel cost.

Randy told Idaho Dispatch,

Prevents us from going to see family and as retired we find it more difficult to shop for food that we can afford on a limited income.

Another respondent said about traveling,

Gas costs are over 100.00 each way. We,re on a fixed income and biden is working on taking everything from us. He needs to be impeached now, to save our society

If you answered these questions from Idaho Dispatch, what would you say? Have your spending habits changed with the higher inflation?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Tags: Budget, Food, Gas, Groceries, Inflation, Meat, Snacks, Store

16 thoughts on “Exclusive: Idahoans Buying More Generic-Brand Foods, Changing Stores, Giving Up Non-Essential Groceries

    1. The I duh hoans are still paying skyrocketing property taxes to the politician , government employee and military crime gang.

  1. I havent bought meat more than a couple times this year, eggs went from a 1.70 to almost 5.00, milks doubled in price. im pretty much down to eggs and rice for food

  2. I’m a bit of a cheapskate, so I was already shopping at winco and costco prior to all this. I also avoided any form of beef since its prices are always atrocious. The only thing that’s changed for me is how much I buy when something is cheap. It used to be I’d try to keep 1-2 extras of any given item (mayo, peanut butter, those big 48 packs of ramen). Now that prices rarely come down and it’s not uncommon to not even see what I want, I try to stay at 3-4 extras, that way I can wait it out should my item’s price ever go up.

    However, I am getting closer to being unable to do that as things spend longer and longer at higher prices or not in the stores. For instance, the last time my cereal was cheap, I made sure to have 6 of them (don’t remember how many I actually bought). I rarely eat cereal yet I’m down to 3 and I haven’t seen the price drop in months.

  3. One option for meat is Good Ranchers, it’s high quality meat from American farms and they don’t raise their prices on monthly subscriptions so bidenflation isn’t going to affect that. Also I still see so many Biden stickers on cars in Idaho. Interesting.

  4. We changed our eating and buying habit 2 years ago with COVID. Did not go back. Because of it not noticing the change as much. It all goes back to the United Nations. Wish it was just Biden but it much bigger than that.

  5. During all of this covid business, some stores were less friendly and more prone to following illogical non-scientifically based programs. Now that a couple of the largest corporations have made high enough profits to support various anti-family events in Boise, I no longer shop at those stores. Albertsons sometimes sells products past the pull date so I have another reason to not shop there. The good thing is that the best prices plus quality are at the other stores, like Grocery Outlet and Winco. I am not always coming home with what I planned to buy as I am buying more according to price. I have planted some veggies in my garden but that is nothing new.

  6. Those whom are eating less, should be eating healthy as well. Ramen and cereal will eventually deteriorate your health and energy, and mental sharpness. EXACTLY where ‘they’ want you. Poor health means more sickness. Low energy and capacity to critically think, is EXACTLY where ‘they’ want you.
    Fight back by staying as healthy and sharp as you can.

    1. In case this is advice towards me, I still buy plenty of fruit, meat (chicken and pork only when it’s cheap), vegetables, etc. However, you can’t stock up on these unless you freeze them. So, I mentioned the things I can stock up on. I keep the unhealthy stuff for when the healthy stuff is overly expensive (or I’m just lazy and don’t want to cook xD)

  7. I just pay more for food.
    Sorry but it’s my healthcare. I have given up more of my extra job which required driving so I’m paying less in gasoline and giving up extra spending. I won’t give up good food for junk. And we’ve planted five fruit trees and have three huge raised beds now. Already started producing. Bought large sacks of rice many many months ago. Bulk dried goods, spices, so now I just buy the rest and I pay more for it. No vacations, just local stuff.

  8. Woke stores advertising “pride” have been nixed in our family. Stopped shopping at Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, etc. as soon as CONvid settled down. We buy almost everything local and try to buy Made in USA goods and not China garbage. Purchased a freeze dryer a few months back and have about 50 gallons of food prepped that will last 20-25 years in mylar/canning jars. If you can afford it get a large one if you have kids or cost share w/ a couple friends.

  9. I’ve been ready for years.
    I’m tired of the scamming off of WE THE PEOPLE.
    Holding the line and planted a great garden.
    Lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, & tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, & lettuce, spinach, onions & garlic.
    And lots of raspberries.
    Good Luck folks, we can stand together to pull through this crap!

  10. Sadly, when we buy lower quality food because we can’t afford the foods we would normally prefer, they just drop those expensive food categories off of the Consumer Price Index and they say “see? No inflation occurring here!”

  11. My property taxes have our gone up drastically our politician and government employee crime gang are stealing our homes.

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