During the height of lockdown, main roads were almost empty of traffic. The quiet country roads and back lanes of south Monaghan were even quieter. Yet, I recall a number of times, seeing a Tesco grocery delivery van pottering along tiny narrow back roads I know in the area, which meander over rolling hills like a scene from 'Postman Pat'.
As more people rushed to buy their groceries online for home delivery, one wondered how supermarket chains could make any money on such quiet routes with scattered houses. One particular boreen where I saw the Tesco van is nearly 14 miles from the Tesco in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, and 18 miles from the Tesco in Dundalk.
It isn't that long since Tesco's British executives referred to the hefty margins in Ireland as "Treasure Island". The grocery retailers in general made a fortune during the lockdown which saw an extra €628m spent on groceries in Ireland during the three months to mid-June.
Musgrave chief executive Noel Keeley said recently that SuperValu saw a 300pc increase in online purchases. Chances are it wasn't nearly as profitable as traditional business. Supermarkets carry much higher costs on online sales as customers expect to pay the same price for their groceries. Your groceries have to be hand-picked in the store by staff.
The online shopping model was built for large urban populations not so much the boreens of south Monaghan, where the nearest Tesco is in a different county.
Yet even in higher density countries such as England, big multiples are struggling to make a decent profit from online. Internationally, consultants Bain & Company estimates that between 35pc and 45pc of the recent increase in online sales will turn out to be permanent.
However, the head of retail at Bain, Marc-Andre Kamel, told the 'Financial Times' that, internationally, picking and delivery costs can be €12-€14 per order.
Retail giants believe online will be a major part of their future offering so they are willing to compete strongly for a slice of it.
At some point the market realities will have to catch up or the price will have to be paid elsewhere.
After raking in €628m in extra sales during lockdown, the big multiples should be well-placed to build up deliveries competitively while subsidising price.
But retailers argue the mix of products sold was different during lockdown as customers moved away from convenience foods in small city locations towards bulk buying things like low-margin flour, either to stockpile or simply learn how to bake because they had the time.
Supermarkets would argue that the additional sales will not have translated into an equivalent percentage increase in profits because of the margin mix. And they also believe some of the new buying patterns will remain.
Because of remote working, we are likely to see further pressure on small city centre convenience stores which have higher margins, while big out-of-town supermarkets make a comeback.
Given the higher costs in the production associated with Covid-19 measures, you would expect food prices to creep up. Producers have labour challenges. Processors have higher PPE costs, along with expense around social distancing measures and lower efficiency.
The really big suppliers can absorb those costs for a while. Smaller suppliers will see every piece of PPE eat into what are already often very thin margins. They don't have the clout to pass on those higher costs to supermarket buyers.
Supermarket executives are adamant food prices will not go up. It is a competitive market and nobody wants to lose an inch or a percentage point of market share.
According to Mr Keeley of Musgrave, the pressures will have to be borne collectively through the food supply chain and greater efficiencies will have to be made throughout the system. Efficiencies are harder for small firms to make.
SuperValu can argue that it already supports smaller suppliers through its Food Academy programmes, which give early access to multiple stores for high-growth food startups. And the Irish-owned company has done a lot for these entrepreneurs.
Higher costs owing to the pandemic, changing shopping habits and an increase in less profitable online shopping will all put pressures on pricing in the overall supply chain.
One question is whether we might all be willing to pay a little more for groceries if it protected more jobs in the industry. It is far from clear who in the supply chain would benefit most from those higher prices.
And higher food prices during a recession is hardly something that would play out well politically or among the public.
Wherever the pressure points emerge, it is hard to see the supermarkets losing out.