(WHTM) — The holidays are right around the corner and grocery stores will be very busy places in the days and weeks ahead. 

Food prices are a major concern for many, but there are things you can do to save. 

“During the pandemic we have spent a lot of time learning how to make due with less. In many cases do more with less,” Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO Of FMI – The Food Industry Association, said. 

Grocery stores have come a long way since the days of the pandemic.

“The grocery industry is doing well, as you are aware. We talked about before some of the supply chain challenges we had through the pandemic. I’m happy to report that many of those are now alleviated,” Sarasin said.

But now shoppers are dealing with another issue: inflation. Even though things are getting better, it has affected the way people shop.

“We’re taking advantage of the promotions and the coupons and the other kinds of sales that our grocery stores are making available to us,” Sarasin said.

Convenience, Sarasin said, has become increasingly important to shoppers.

“We have always and will always be focused on price and quality, but I would say in recent years we have become much more focused on convenience,” she said.

Stores have had to adapt. 

“In their food service departments, in their deli departments, we can find lots of already prepared meals, lots of prepared side dishes, other things that we’d love to serve our families but we don’t necessarily have time or the inclination to make at home ourselves,” Sarasin said.

Sarasin also addressed availability of staple holiday grocery items.

“We are not seeing issues on those products right now and we’re very relieved you might imagine,”

Especially with Thanksgiving quickly approaching.

“The good news is that turkeys are abundant and available. Our grocers tell us they have bought their turkeys several months ago and so they are in the stores and available to be purchased, and they’re even a little cheaper this year than in the past. It sounds like a good situation all the way around,” she said.

“If we shop ahead and plan ahead, we’ll know before we get to the store what we’re looking for,
she said. “So we end up buying what we need instead of some of the things that become impulse purchases for us.”

As 2023 comes to a close, grocery stores are looking closely at trends heading into the new year. 

“We’ve been talking with our shoppers about what their plans are as we move into 2024. What they tell us is they’re very focused on cooking more at home and eating more at home, which of course is a great thing from our perspective,” Sarasin said.

If you’re looking for other ways to save, Sarasin suggests joining your store’s loyalty rewards program, downloading their apps, and buying store brands.