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Grocery store crowd sizes tempering

A King Soopers executive said the panic-buying and food shortages are beginning to level off.

DENVER — Crowds at the grocery store are beginning to moderate after grocery stores spent months supplying 90% of their food supply rather than the 40% they typically supply, according to the Colorado Farm Bureau.

Colorado grocery stores were inundated with demand due to the novel coronavirus pandemic that appeared in the state in March.

There were shortages, panic buying and hoarding. That was followed by price hikes, but we now appear to be turning a corner, according to Jessica Trowbridge, corporate affairs manager at King Soopers.

"We are beginning to see crowds begin to moderate," Trowbridge said. "As we’ve transitioned from 'stay-at-home,' people are going back to work, restaurants are beginning to open, and our business is beginning to moderate and become the new normal if you will."

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This will reduce pressure on the supply chain to keep up with demand, which means we will see fewer shortages of products and shelves will fill up again, Trowbridge said.

Government economists have said prices should begin to moderate. The average grocery bill in May was up 20-30% from the same time last year, according to the the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). The meat supply chain is beginning to normalize, with at least 85% of the supply chain back to normal, according to the Colorado Cattlemen's Association. 

Eggs are still expensive, up 20% over a year ago, and poultry and fish are nearly 3.7% higher, according to USDA.

A potato chip shortage may persist. 

Cold, wet weather damaged potato crops in both the U.S. and Canada, and there has been unprecedented demand for chips, according to USDA. Pepsico Frito Lay reported sales of Lays chips are up by 32%, and sales of Tostitos are up 42%.

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