How to shop smarter to get the groceries you need

ROANOKE, Va. – As more people are staying home and practicing social distancing, the task of getting groceries is becoming increasingly challenging.

Consumer Reports senior editor Tobie Stanger blames poor supply-chain planning for some of the difficulties.

Labor is also a factor.

While some grocery workers may be at home sick or caring for others, delivery services are also gaining more customers so all around, it’s been hard for them to keep up.

What does this mean for you? You need a strategy!

Stanger said there are advantages to going to mom-and-pop shops because smaller, independent grocers may have an edge on hard-to-find items because the distributors that stock their shelves aren’t necessarily the same as those that stock big chains.

You can also find groceries and toiletries at places that aren’t supermarkets, like CVS or Lowe’s.

Some restaurants, like Subway, Panera Bread and Moe’s have started selling bags full of their own ingredients, like fresh produce and bread.

If you prefer to use grocery delivery or pickup Stanger has some special tips for that as well.

“One thing you can do is check after midnight," said Stanger. "People are having a lot of luck there because new delivery slots open. Lots of people have told me that early in the morning works and I’ve actually had people tell me that they actually subscribe to services and they alternate so whichever one has a delivery slot coming up sooner, that’s where they place their order.”

According to Consumer Reports, the best time to visit the store is on Thursdays at around 10 a.m. or any day right after the senior time ends.