Pandemic grocery shopping: most consumers still wary

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing as we approach fall, most consumers are still worried about catching it when they go grocery shopping, according to a new survey.

Of the 1,150 people surveyed, 75% say they worry about catching Covid while grocery shopping. The survey was done by Charleston|Orwig, a strategic marketing and communications agency, and Menu Matters, a strategic consultancy in foodservice.

People are still concerned about catching Covid-19 in grocery stores.

“As more consumers are out and about, any activity is seen as a concern. Grocery shopping is no different,” said Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters, in a release. “Even though supermarket managers made positive changes during the pandemic, this survey shows they haven’t yet fully addressed consumer concerns.”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents find pandemic grocery shopping frustrating, presumably because of issues with items they want unavailable.

Among the recommendations for food stores the study authors have is to tell customers of possible shortages and when out-of-stock products become available again. Surprisingly for this far into the pandemic, 93% of respondents experienced out-of-stock situations while grocery shopping in the past month. You would think by now, supply chain issues have been worked out.

Other recommendations include:

  • Improve usability of online ordering sites and apps for delivery and/or pickup. Half of consumers are using one or more options.
  • Allow people to preorder items that are currently unavailable.
  • Train personal shoppers to understand customer preferences, especially when substituting.

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