At a Time of Panic-Buying, What’s Staying on Grocery Store Shelves?

Vegan sausages were not on many shopping lists, apparently

Chocolate hummus
Chocolate hummus isn't everyone's favorite.
Trader Joe's
By Tobias Carroll / March 15, 2020 6:16 am

If you’ve spent any time on social media in the last few days, you may have seen photographs of empty supermarket shelves that had previously stocked food or cleaning supplies — or comments to the effect that posting such photos is harmful. Perhaps you yourself posted one or the other. Perhaps you even posted both. People are complicated, after all — and coronavirus concerns are something everyone’s grappling with in their own ways.

At Slate, Aaron Mak took a different view of the stockpiling that occurred at numerous grocery stores. Namely, Mak explored another side of this: what are the supermarket products that even people buying in a panic don’t want at home?

Chocolate hummus, for one. “Chocolate hummus is the canary in the coal mine,” Mak writes. “If you see it selling out, it’s time to start fleeing into the woods.” Bottles of Dasani were also largely left untouched, as were plant-based sausages — something Mak’s sources in both the United States and Scotland demonstrated.

Dryer sheets were also largely unaffected by panic-buying. That’s not all that surprising: during times of crisis, having a particularly soft shirt might not be highest on one’s list of priorities.

Mak’s list of the products that were far from flying off the shelves offers an interesting glimpse into where panic-buying can lead — and what even shoppers who are thoroughly panicked won’t opt to buy. It also suggests that people who absolutely love chocolate hummus will not have to worry about finding their favorite food in their local grocery store. For everyone who’s not a fan of chocolate hummus, things might be a little trickier.

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