COLORADO SPRINGS — It's an unpredictable time for all of us at the grocery store as price hikes and shortages impact and even shape our future grocery lists, but consumer experts and grocery store leaders say there are some things you can do that might help.
"There's an exchange of information, there's that relationship building at the check stand between our customers and our associates," said Safeway's Kris Staaf who spoke with News5 inside the Safeway store near Constitution and Powers in Colorado Springs.
Grocery store employees have had a front row seat for the pandemic-related financial and supply chain impacts on consumers as they continue to push grocery carts through the aisles with the goal of finding items on their list and filling their shopping bags.
The first piece of advice is Get to know your local grocery store managers. Colorado Safeway stores agree it's a great way to not only help you plan, but also to help the store meet your needs.
"Reach out to your store director, your store team. We're going to do everything we can to make sure we get that product for you, whether we have to order it or get it from another store, but it's having that relationship with your store team and just asking," said Staaf.
Next, Consider shopping during the early hours of the day. Consumer experts say deliveries to big grocery chains and warehouse stores typically take place between 4 and 7 in the morning. This will help you find things as soon as they hit the shelves.
"So we have deliveries coming in every day. We've got fresh product coming every day. It could be fresh produce, it could be dairy, it could be frozen. Every day it's coming in and we're putting it out on the sales floor," said Staaf.
You also might decide the best day of the week to shop based on when your favorite grocery store releases its ads.
At Safeway stores, the ad comes out on Wednesdays.
Outside of the sales, consumer experts also suggest Trying store-brand items that are likely cheaper and available.
"You just need to know where to look for those deals, whether it's in the ad that is in the paper, or in your hand in your smartphone," said Staaf.
Finally, Using store apps with curbside and delivery options can help you find what you need, as employees do the shopping for you.
"You can put notes in there as you're making those orders. For example, if I want organic bananas and let's say we were low on organic bananas. I can say if organic isn't available I'll take the standard bananas, or if the brand of milk isn't available I can have it swapped out for a comparable brand. So you can put notes to your shopper, they really are personal shoppers," said Staaf.
Consumer experts also say, you can use social media to interact with companies and find out from neighbors, family, and friends what they're seeing at the grocery store, where they are saving money, and finding items they need.