December 3, 2023

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BRAUN: COVID has changed grocery shopping in a big way

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Mintel Global Market Research noted that COVID has helped break old grocery shopping habits and create new ones.

A recent industry report on the world o’ groceries shows how even the toughest customers to adapt to online grocery shopping — seniors — have done so, many inspired by safety concerns.

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Another change is that COVID will likely keep Gen Z (those aged 18-24) home with their parents a little longer for economic reasons; this is the time for grocers to start creating a positive brand association with that demographic.

Luckily, those young people will remember which grocery chains were mean-spirited enough to take back the extra COVID pay they initially gave frontline workers.

Canada’s aging population means that “senior shopping hours” and other health adjustments made for COVID may continue at grocery stores into the future — even after the pandemic threat is over.

About 70{f2a9790f1f5b326f5addd27543ef870bdef34be2bb42188b5ff1576c2dc9b21c} of Canadians now find grocery shopping more stressful than before the pandemic, and 79{f2a9790f1f5b326f5addd27543ef870bdef34be2bb42188b5ff1576c2dc9b21c} want to get in and out of the store as fast as possible when shopping.

Last August, Mintel research showed that almost half of consumers in an online poll said they had made groceries a higher spending priority at the height of the pandemic.

Closed restaurants and a ban on social gatherings has many Canadians cooking more at home, with almost half (46{f2a9790f1f5b326f5addd27543ef870bdef34be2bb42188b5ff1576c2dc9b21c}) saying they are eating comfort food as a way of managing stress.

During the pandemic, about a third of Canadian women Mintel polled said they were eating indulgent foods such as chocolate, ice cream or pizza to help them cope with stress.

The other two-thirds were probably lying.

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