By Justin Fox
The arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 first brought a frenzied run on supermarkets, then a sustained grocery-shopping boom as people stopped going out to eat and turned to home cooking. Polling data hinted that it might be a permanent shift.
It wasn’t—at least not in the US, where consumer spending statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis suggest the pandemic grocery boom ended early last year. After adjusting for inflation, spending on what the BEA calls “food and beverages purchased for off-premises consumption”—which doesn’t include restaurant takeout—has fallen well below the pre-pandemic trend. By contrast, spending at restaurants and other food-services providers is right on trend.
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