By Bianca Ruffin, Senior Manager, Marketing, FMI
I have always found a sense of solace at the grocery store. There is something particularly calming, to me, about the produce section and it often informs the rest of my shopping. Seasonal items tend to take the forefront—fresh corn, why yes please! Garlic scapes? Don’t mind if I do! Watermelon radishes? Sure, I’ll try those!
The ongoing pandemic has certainly put a crimp in my style. But I never stopped going to the grocery store. While COVID-19 fears shifted online grocery shopping spending from 14.5% to an astounding 27.9%, according to U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2020, for the first time in years I didn’t contribute to those stats at all.
This was somewhat due to grocery stores being the one and only place I could go for months. My favorite grocers had become an escape mechanism—being cooped up in the house made me stir crazy.
To be fair, it wasn’t as relaxing a shopping experience as it had been before. Anytime someone got too close or lingered too long in front of the meat section I’d get frustrated. But the new normal has fully set in. I particularly appreciate how much care my primary grocery store has taken regarding the safety of their staff and customers. I, along with 69% of shoppers, feel like the response to COVID-19 by grocery stores has been great, if not excellent. And if you’d ask me whether grocers are on my side, I’d answer with a resounding, “Yes!” right along with 62% of shoppers.
I have always enjoyed cooking at home and now I have even more time to focus on that skill set. For all the unease, unexpected change, and topsy-turvy “new normal,” grocery shopping and cooking have kept me anchored in a normal-normal. And for that, I am eternally grateful.