4 fresh co west 3136115 Q11 001 5gFPY copy

Grocery retailers have been consistently open during the pandemic, and its employees have been on the frontlines since the beginning. The pandemic changed both the industry and the consumers, according to a new study by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab and Caddle.

The report identifies nine shifts in industry.

Online Shopping

Online purchases will continue to trend in the future, with nearly a quarter of Canadians saying they will still shop online regularly.

Store Disloyalty

25 per cent of those surveyed said they changed their grocery store during the pandemic, which is said to be a significant number and likely because of how consumers rated health risks and physical space of a store.

Store Design

Store design for physical distancing is an important factor for Canadians, with 54.7 per cent agreeing grocers would offer a better experience with a redesigned store.

The Big Three

Three major retailers, Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro, are not as influential as before. Online retailers such as Amazon are expected to impact the industry.

Independent Retailers

Canadians appear to sympathize with independent grocers, as 60.9 per cent of Canadians want to spend up to 19 per cent of their budget at an independently owned store.

Shop Local

Consumers were shown to want to see local products, however not as many actually buy local. 75.2 per cent want grocers to carry more local products, but only 47.4 per cent intend to buy more in the next six months.

Loyalty Programs

The loyalty programs will be important in the years to come, according to the study, as 73.1 per cent of Canadians are likely to be influenced by them when purchasing food.


Canadian discount stores are expected to do well, with 70.2 per cent of Canadians looking for promotions and discounts.


Grocers have been adding more self-checkout, and study shows that Canadians want more, likely due to the pandemic.

The full report can be accessed here.

Share your company and people news with the industry.
Contact Grocery Business’ content manager
Stacey Newman ([email protected])

Back to Top