There is a lot to love about living in Massachusetts. From its iconic Cape Cod beaches to the bustling Boston metro area to the peaceful hills of the Berkshires, there really is something for everyone in Massachusetts.

Whether you were born and raised in Massachusetts, or are a transplant to the best state in New England, you know all it has to offer.

Massachusetts boasts a strong economy, affordable living, excellent public schools, and an overall high quality of life. The state has been highlighted as one of the best states to live in the US several times, but publications like US News and World Reports, Niche, and CBS News.

But, just like anywhere, Massachusetts has its downfalls as well.

Retail theft has become a major issue in Massachusetts, to the tune of well over a billion dollars. The issue is not just Massachusetts, it's nationwide. Shoplifting incidents were 16 percent higher in the first half of 2023 than in the first half of 2019, according to the New York Times.

Retail happens everywhere at all different kinds of stores, but recently FinanceBuzz took a look at the most commonly stolen items from grocery stores, not just in Massachusetts, but nationwide.

Items Most Often Stolen from Massachusetts Grocery Stores

1. Meat 

Apparently, meat has a high resale value due to the demand.


2. Makeup

Given the high price tag of makeup products, it's not a surprise that it's easy for shoplifters to get rid of stolen cosmetics. Besides grocery stores, beauty chains like Ulta and Sephora have to combat a high rate of shoplifting. Apparently, there are even social media groups used to unload stolen makeup merchandise.

Woman hands neatly organising makeup and cosmetics in the drawer of vanity dressing table

3. Alcoholic Beverages 

This should be no surprise. Anything that folks can be addicted to is always hot a commodity, as sad as that is to say. Not only the high demand, but the size of some bottles make shoplifting easier than larger products.

Bottles Of Wine On Display In Delicatessen

4. Baby Formula 

Sad but true. There is such a problem with the theft of baby formula that most stores have resorted to locking it up. More often than not, it's not parents stealing the formula, culprits are often career criminals who know there is a demand. The high cost for low-income families means there will also be a customer for stolen formula.

Infant formula in spoon. High angle view of baby formula and spoon in can
Oleksandr Pirko

5. Chocolate 

Chocolate lovers are everywhere and there are even scientific studies that show eating it genuinely makes people happier. Plus, chocolate bars tend to be pocket-sized, making them easier to swipe.

Macro close-up of a gift box of gourmet chocolates.


6. Seafood

This one is a little puzzling, given the short shelf life of seafood is perishable, however, authorities say local shoplifters are prepared and keep coolers packed with ice in their vehicles to preserve the stolen goods.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Over-the-Counter medicine 

The high price tags that accompany everyday over-the-counter meds are expensive enough to make them easy targets for shoplifters. Many stores have started putting theft deterrent devices on said products.


8. Personal Care Items

Personal care items, like cosmetics, are big business. Pricey lotions and face washes are prime targets for many shoplifters.

Collection of personal hygiene products


9. Family Planning Products 

No surprise that the need, and high cost, of things like condoms and contraceptives are a hot commodity for shoplifters.


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