Grocery shopping has long been an essential part of life for many Americans, but it took on new significance for some in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it became the only reason many left their homes.
Mostly, Americans have a choice as to where they do their grocery shopping, picking their favorite store based on price, selection, convenience, and more. While these priorities may not be the same for everyone, each state has at least one store that stands out as the most popular, based on how many people are searching for it and reviewing it online (but not how well it is reviewed).
In many states, the most popular grocery store is a major, national chain like Kroger or Sam’s Club. These big name stores offer familiarity and can often have lower prices because of their large distribution networks and private label products. Yet in other states, the most popular grocery stores are more regional chains. These smaller grocers can sometimes offer more specialized local offerings than would be unavailable in other parts of the country — including some delicacies that only locals know about. This is the strangest food from every state.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers have faced food shortages and spiking prices as some supply lines have been disrupted. While certain stores can offer staples like pork, flour, or beans for cheaper than their competitors, even the least expensive stores likely had to raise their prices in 2020. Groceries were, on average, 4.5% more expensive in June 2020 than they were in February of the same year, with prices of certain items increasing over 10% in that time. These are the foods driving up your grocery bill the most during the pandemic.