Consumer Reports: Grocery shopping tips amid the coronavirus pandemic

In an effort to social distance and stay safe, many consumers are trying to avoid going to the grocery store.

But getting a delivery time or the items you need can be a challenge. The time slots are few and far between these days and so are certain items like baker's yeast and, of course, disinfecting wipes.

"So one of the reasons it's become challenging is that people are stocking up and hoarding in some cases," said Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Senior Editor.

Plus, there are supply chain issues, especially at some of the larger stores and big box chains.

"So, what's interesting is Consumer Reports has found that some of the smaller stores that have a different supply chain, often are the ones that are now carrying items you can't find in the larger stores," Stanger said.

And if you can't find what you need, branch out and get creative.

"You might find paper goods, cleaning products at an office supply store that in some places is considered essential," she said. "Home Depot and Lowe's those kind of places also."

Your local hardware store is a great place to check, too so is your drug store for all kinds of items and don't forget your farmer's market for fresh food.

As far as getting a time slot for a grocery delivery service?

"We did get tips from people about ways that they can sort of hack the system. One of them, for example, is to check after midnight because sometimes more delivery slots open up. That means you know set your alarm or just stay up some people have found early in the morning works," she said.

To further optimize your chances, fill up carts on multiple websites updating them even before you run out of items, monitor all of them for time slots so then when one does open up, you can click and check out immediately.

One last tip: the refrigerated section of your gas station convenience store is also an often overlooked place for things like eggs and milk.
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