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:
- Are there grocery items you are no longer buying?
- Are you buying more generic brands, or did you always use generic brands?
- 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