Covid-19How COVID-19 is Changing the Way We Grocery Shop

Since the start of COVID-19, grocery shopping is not what we once knew. People now have to follow strict guidelines in grocery stores in order to shop.

If they do not adhere to these guidelines, they are unable to shop in stores. Just last year, hearing something like this was unthinkable.

In this post, we will walk you through how COVID-19 has already changed the way we shop and what we expect to see throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Masks Required

Almost every grocery store you visit at this stage, will require you to wear a mask. Masks help reduce the spread of airborne pathogens and the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19.

Outside of wearing masks, you can also see shoppers wearing gloves and carrying items like hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. 

Shoppers are much more cautious of sanitary conditions they once turned a blind eye too. 

No More Samples & Self Serve Stations

Since shoppers are becoming more aware of the sanitary conditions around them, many will not touch free samples they once enjoyed grabbing. Also, many stores do not offer these anymore because of the risk of spreading germs to customers.

This is a big bummer for stores like Costco who is essentially famous for their free samples.

Outside of free samples, some stores are shutting down their self serve stations due to concerns over their cleanliness. 

So, shoppers who used to rely on salads and soups here, can no longer do so in certain stores. To combat this loss, many stores are offering more “food to go”. This means stores are offering meals in containers that shoppers can pick up quickly and go straight to checkout.

Protected Checkout

When you go to check out at the grocery store, or various other stores, you will most likely be interacting with your cashier through a plastic shield. This shield helps protect the cashier and the shopper alike from spreading any airborne pathogens.

Curbside Pickup & Delivery

Many shoppers do not want to enter grocery stores out of fear of contacting COVID-19. This is completely understandable and something grocery stores are adapting to. 

Curbside pickup allows shoppers to order online. Then they can choose a date and time to pick up their groceries. We expect to see more of this as shoppers continue to try this method out and as grocery stores gather more information about their shoppers.

While curbside pickup is a great option for many shoppers, others forgo the entire in person shopping experience by ordering groceries straight to their home. 

According to CNBC, 3-4% of grocery shopping was done online before the COVID-19 pandemic started. That number is now between 10-15%. 

With an increase like this and an unnecessary future with COVID-19, we expect this number to continue to rise. 

Meal Delivery 

While most grocery stores offer grocery delivery services, there are many meal delivery services seeing immense demand in their services. Some of these companies include HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Uber Eats, etc.

According to Barron’s, “Spending on meal delivery services was up 70% year-over-year in the last week of March.”

Meal delivery is unique to grocery delivery because these services send you foods with recipes. This makes the cooking and shopping experience much easier for customers like this.

Before the pandemic some of these companies were struggling, now they are prospering. With COVID-19 cases starting to surge again across the United States and other parts of the world, we expect these services will continue to see an increase in demand. 

What to Expect Throughout the Year and Beyond

The pandemic is forcing many people to try cooking in their own kitchens. This is why we are seeing an increase in meal delivery services and bulk buying from grocery stores.

Knowing this we expect to see grocery stores and meal delivery companies to start making more offerings. Also, a site like The Healthy Patron, expects grocery shopping as we know it to become more of a digital experience than an in person experience.

Brick and mortar stores will not be going anywhere anytime soon, but many shoppers will forgo the entire in person experience. 

If shoppers do go into stores, we expect them to get in and out quickly. Gone are the days of slowly strolling through a store.

Final Thoughts

While there is still so much unknown about COVID-19, we are starting to understand what the outlook for grocers will be. Grocery shopping will most likely become more of a digital process, just like many different ecommerce industries. 

With this in mind, it makes us question what the outcome will look like for the restaurant industry. Many restaurants have turned to takeout and curbside pickup options. While this is a good solution, is it sustainable?

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The Healthy Patron

The Healthy Patron

The Healthy Patron is a full service health and nutrition news blog. Our site focuses on local and national news with a focus on on the foods we eat and how we eat them.

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