December 16, 2021

While the pandemic changed the way most people live their day-to-day lives, there is one activity that has remained a constant: grocery shopping. Supermarkets have had the unique and challenging task of continuing to act as a dependable resource within the communities they serve, as most consumers continue to shop in-store on a regular basis. Sustainability and Food Retailing, the newest study from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, found that 75% of consumers surveyed continued to get groceries weekly throughout the pandemic, with 92% shopping in-person.

Throughout the unusual – and ongoing – period of COVID-19, the importance of supermarket cleanliness has grown exponentially as shoppers are hyper-aware of personal safety, social distance and the ongoing efforts supermarkets are implementing to maintain a clean environment. As new variants of the COVID-19 virus continue to emerge, it’s important for retailers to focus on a variety of methods to help consumers feel that grocery shopping is a safe activity.

The importance of COVID-19-related safety measures was communicated very clearly in Sustainability and Food Retailing. The study, which was conducted during the COVID-19 lockdown, showed the sharp shift in consumer concerns as they transitioned from store sustainability to cleanliness and safety. Efforts such as providing special hours for elderly or at-risk customers, offering disinfectant wipes, regularly sanitizing the store and providing curbside pick-up are all attributes that ranked high within the study and can be easily implemented among supermarkets.

Page six of the study outlines a variety of everyday activities and their rankings from safe to least safe among shoppers surveyed. Consumers rated shopping online as the safest activity, followed by getting takeout/having food delivered and then grocery shopping. Shoppers gave supermarkets good grades for reacting to the pandemic thanks to social distancing, plexiglas dividers and hand sanitizing stations.

The report makes it clear that throughout the pandemic, shoppers have been aware of the important role supermarkets play for their families and communities. For that reason, shoppers see supermarkets as a vital partner in making a positive impact on the area around them. Retailers can use this renewed sense of partnership among customers as an opportunity to address other shopper concerns and interests, such as supporting sustainability efforts, advocating for diversity and inclusion and engaging with local non-profits.

For more information on these consumer insights and how to keep shoppers safe using COVID-19 cleanliness measures, download the report for free: