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12 Alternate Places to Shop for Food (That You Likely Forgot About)!

In this post: Need some food, but the grocery store isn’t an option? Here are 12 alternate places to shop for food that you may have forgotten about!


Whether your grocery store is closed for a holiday and you desperately need eggs or milk, or there’s a genuine crisis and you can’t find what you need at the grocery store, there are many alternate places to shop for food. Read on to find out where they are!

food stores with text overlay that says 11 alternate places to shop for food that you likely forgot about

Where to Buy Food – 12 Places You Likely Forgot About!

In times of crisis, grocery stores are going to be packed full of people and supplies may run out.

But, there are still a ton of other places you can buy food when supplies are running low.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of alternate places you can shop for food that you most likely forgot about.

ethnic food store interior

1. Ethnic Food Stores

Ethnic food stores are AMAZING places to shop.

In Asian stores for example, you can find massive 20 lb bags of rice and huge bottles of soy sauce. Plus the dried herbs there are always so cheap!

You’ll also find unusual foods that you won’t find in other stores like delicious, authentic Perogies in Polish food stores and ready-made egg roll sheets in Asian stores.

So, make yourself a list of all the ethnic food places in your town and check them outline or go see what they have!

whole foods store inside

2. Health Food Stores

The food at the health food store is going to be a bit more expensive but partly because of this, there should be plenty of food left there too.

On the plus side, you know that pretty much everything you get there is going to be good for you.

Tip: Many health food stores have websites and online ordering too. Two of my favorites are Well.ca and HealthyPlanetCanada.com. 

3. Discount Food Stores

You know those stores that sell the cans that have dents in them? Every town seems to have at least one. This is a great place to get food!

Once again, you can never really be sure what you’re going to get there.

Also, keep in mind that these foods may be past their best by date. They’re still good to eat, they just aren’t quite as good as they would have been.

If you’re buying anything in a jar be sure to look at what color it is. I wouldn’t buy anything that looks like it is the wrong color.

7 eleven

4. The Corner Store and Gas Station

Your corner store/gas station may not have the most nutritious food but in an emergency, food is food. 

You can likely find salty snacks, meat sticks and sometimes eggs and milk too. 

5. The Dollar Store

Your local dollar stores can be a decent alternate place to buy food, especially canned food which you will want to stock up on for emergencies.

Just keep in mind that a lot of others may have this same idea. And always check expiry dates. 

Need help figuring out what to do with your food after you get it from one of these alternate places to buy groceries? Click here for Meal Planning Ideas and Resources that really work!

6. Amazon

If you can afford to wait a few days, then Amazon is a great way to stock up on food and avoid people at the same time.

(At the time of writing this, Amazon was a little short on some things. But you can still search around to find things you need.)

7. Ikea

If you’re lucky enough to have an Ikea near you – and it’s open – then you can stock up on food there!

They’ve got a great selection of frozen food as well as sweet treats and interesting jams you won’t find anywhere else. And their pricing seems to be very competitive. 

8. Catering Supply Stores

Is there a catering supply store in your town? Call ahead and ask them if they allow non-caterers to shop there. Chances are, especially in a large emergency the answer will be yes. But be sure to call ahead just in case.

farm market

9. Farm Supply Store

If you live in a more rural area then you most likely have a farm supply store of some kind nearby.

While they mostly have food for animals some of those foods are safe for human consumption, like massive 50 lb bags of rolled oats.

Just be sure to ask one of the employees if they are safe to eat and be sure to do some research online.

10. The Drug Store

Finally, there is the drug store. I’m talking about those major chains you can find all across the country.

They have a ton of shelf-stable foods you can get. They may not be the healthiest, but again food is food.

While you’re there grab yourself some potato chips or some dark chocolate for a little bit of comfort food. 🙂 I won’t’ tell!

11. Grain Manufacturer/Distributor

We actually make use of one of these regularly (it’s near Dean’s work) for bulk rice flour. It’s way cheaper than the grocery store. 

Several mills and grain distribution companies are open to the public and you can stock up on several different kinds of grains and flours. 

Tip: If you’re strictly gluten free, look for one that doesn’t process gluten-filled grains at all, or you may find some cross-contamination. 

12. Local Farms

If you’re lucky enough to live near a local farm or two, they make an excellent alternate place to buy food! I’m sure they’d appreciate your business too!

We happen to live in the suburbs near many farms, some of which have farm stores. And the ones that don’t have been sharing on their Facebook pages when they have produce and meat for sale and how to get it from them.

TIp: Wineries and orchards are also great “farms” that you can get some necessities!  

food stores with text overlay that says 12 alternate places to shop for food that you likely forgot about

Can you think of any other places to buy food, other than the grocery store?

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