The food industry is helping shoppers in challenging times
As we enter week seven of the lockdown, the food and grocery industry has managed to maintain the supply of food and drink following the spike in demand in March.
Traffic at food retail stores reached levels rarely seen before, outpacing peak trading periods including holidays and special shopping events. Sainsbury’s recently reported that they had sold more, for five days running, than they would normally sell in their busiest day at Christmas.
As we await the government’s next announcement on any easing of the lockdown, it is clear that social distancing measures are likely to remain in place in stores for some time to come.
Trust is improving
IGD’s latest Shopper Confidence Index has shown that for April, shopper confidence has declined for the third month in a row to the lowest level since Dec’13. Despite this and other changes in shopper behaviour, trust in the food industry is improving. Trust in the food industry to provide safe (+4% since Feb’20) and quality (+8% since Feb’20) products has actually increased.
Ensuring good availability in these times has been a key challenge for the industry faced with increased shopper demand. Following a very slight dip last month, the good news is that 4 in 5 British shoppers now trust the food and grocery industry to ensure good availability. This has increased significantly compared to last month (+7%).
Our ShopperVista tracking data also reveals that shoppers are increasingly trusting the food industry to support local suppliers and farmers and to support local communities. Both of these measures have now increased for two months running.
This is a testament to the work the food industry is doing. This has included supermarkets prioritising vulnerable customers and access for key workers in stores.
Many retailers have increased support for farmers. Morrisons has supported British farmers and fishermen by opening new half-price summer Steak and Seafood Bars at stores, offering a wide choice of steaks joints and 20 types of fish and shellfish that might previously have been destined for the restaurant trade.
IGD has been pleased to bring the industry together to support vulnerable groups, both through initiating the government procured food parcels for the clinically vulnerable, and facilitating a coordinated response to supporting foodbanks.
Maintaining shoppers’ trust
The months ahead are likely to provide both challenges and opportunities for the food and consumer goods industry. IGD will continue to work with government and the food industry to succeed in these times. Maintaining shopper trust is going to be key for success as the UK emerges into a trading environment that has weathered the Coronavirus (COVID-19) storm.