Pandemic Behaviors That Are Here to Stay

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By: Nick Minnick (Director of Retailer Development at Chicory) LinkedIn

COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed consumer behaviors in nearly every way possible making it essential for brands and retailers alike to understand which behaviors have staying power. Aside from the obvious increases in grocery ecommerce adoption, there are several COVID-related grocery shopping trends that will be incorporated into shopping behaviors long-term.

In-Store Safety and Cleanliness Will Be a Must-Have

While shoppers in the Northeast get a kick out of Stop & Shop’s autonomous robot, Marty, notifying employees to clean up spills and other messes, cleaning robots may not be taken so lightly anymore. Safety and cleanliness in stores will be a requirement, and no longer a “nice to have” to maintain shoppers. There’s already an increased focus on features such as enhanced cleaning procedures, permanent shields at registers and touch-free checkout, with Amazon Go leading the helm by going totally cashierless. Self-serve salad bars may be a thing of the past as stores bring back prepared foods in pre-packaged form, particularly as consumers tire of at-home cooking. Old stories resurfacing like the man drinking soup directly from the self-serve hot foods bar at a Chicago supermarket, will not be as amusing in the post-pandemic world and will impact where shoppers make their purchases.

Appealing to a New Generation of Home Chefs

This pandemic created a new generation of chefs, as many consumers who had no cooking and baking experience were forced to dive in the deep end and develop new skills. 35% of consumers that are cooking more at home are enjoying it. And as the status of restaurant reopenings and outdoor dining is constantly in flux across the nation, as well as economic uncertainty, consumers will continue to cook at home. This will inevitably drive the immediate need for grocers to focus on meal inspiration, specialty ingredients, fresh foods and perimeter departments as points of differentiation.


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