The saying goes "Never go to the grocery store hungry," because shopping on an empty stomach can lead to buying unnecessary items. But when those cravings do hit mid-way through a supermarket run, it can feel impossible not to break into a bag of chips and start snacking.

While many people may crack a soda or open up a pack of Oreos before checking out, is doing so actually legal in Colorado?

Brittani Burns/Unsplash
Brittani Burns/Unsplash

Eating food items prior to paying may feel like shoplifting, but as long as you have the intent to pay for what you are eating around the store, it's perfectly acceptable in Colorado.

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Kind of.

According to, the type of food consumed inside the store matters. Things that are sold at a fixed price, like bags of chips, are more acceptable to be eaten than items sold by weight, such as fruits or dried goods. Shoppers are legally obligated to pay for whatever is taken from the store, so if you don't pay for what you've already eaten, then technically you've stolen it.

Most of the time, supermarket employees won't even bat an eye when a hungry customer is seen snacking on a pre-purchased item. That being said, if a store has its own policy regarding snacking before paying, shoppers should respect the rules.

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