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Industry NewsComfort foods overtaking pantry, paper product purchases: Consumer behaviour research

Comfort foods overtaking pantry, paper product purchases: Consumer behaviour research


New COVID-19 research on changing consumer behaviour in the U.S. shows that shopper priorities are beginning to shift with comfort foods edging out pantry and paper products.

The research is the third round of data emerging that sales and marketing agency Acosta has released.

“While we’re still seeing new trends form week-to-week, like the prioritization of comfort foods over pantry and paper products, we’re also seeing trends solidify with e-commerce continuing to surge and in-store trips continuing to decline due to growing concern,” says Darian Pickett, CEO of Acosta.

“Our research shows that shopper concern continues to increase as weeks go by. In our first shopper survey from March 6 to March 12, concern levels averaged 6.9, and now it’s risen to 8.2 out of 10. That said, we’re optimistic these concerns will reverse with more than half of shoppers surveyed noting they expect their shopping habits to return to ‘normal’ once the pandemic is over.”

Acosta outlines “rules of engagement” for retailers to help manage business during the pandemic.

  • Focus on people first, namely shoppers and staff, and ensure enhanced safety by enabling no-touch transactions, like self-checkout and Apple Pay.
  • Recognize changing shopper attitudes and behaviors and adapt quickly by offering assorted comfort foods and snacks in addition to essentials.
  • Ensure the retail digital shelf and e-commerce strategies are prepared for the accelerated shift to online grocery demand.
  • With staying at home likely remaining strong in the months post-COVID, provide convenient shopper “solutions” centered on meals and self-care.
  • Accommodate lower-income shoppers who are getting relief to buy food via stimulus checks; they may be looking to trade down and leverage promotions.

The research was gathered via online surveys between April 3 and April 7, 2020.

Visit Acosta online for the full report.

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