Trust in the food industry stays strong

Date : 03 April 2020

Michael Freedman

Senior Shopper Insight Manager

Stress testing the relationship between the food industry and shoppers

In the last few weeks, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has really tested the relationship between the food and grocery industry and its shoppers.

Traffic at food retail stores has been at a level rarely seen before, outpacing peak trading periods including holidays and special shopping events.

In response to increased levels of shopper stockpiling, retailers have responded by introducing a range of measures which include reduced opening hours and restricting the number of people in the store and the number of products purchased.

Trust remains strong

% who agree that food manufacturers and retailers can be trusted..

IGD; Base: British grocery shoppers, March’20.

 IGD’s new Shopper Confidence Index has shown that for March, there has understandably been a decline in overall shopper confidence as the nation comes to terms with the impact of COVID-19. Despite this and other changes in shopper behaviour, trust in the food industry remains strong. Trust in the food industry to provide safe (+2% since Feb’20) and quality (+6% 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. The good news is that 3 in 4 British shoppers still trust the food and grocery industry to ensure good availability. This is little changed over time. 

Improving trust

% Change between February and March’20 in those who agree that food manufacturers and retailers can be trusted…. 

IGD; Base: British grocery shoppers, March’20.

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.

This is testament to the work the food industry is doing. This has included supermarkets prioritising vulnerable customers and access for key workers in stores.

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 COVID-19 storm.