Your Local Grocery Store Could Keep This Recent Change For Good
Grocery stores have implemented a lot of changes to keep customers and employees safe while shopping because of the coronavirus pandemic. And while some of them — like limiting the number of customers in the store and plexiglass barriers at checkout aisles — might not last, others will.
Some companies are discontinuing some of their products. Walmart is toying with the idea of making all checkout lanes self-checkouts. They are so serious about it, that they are already testing it at a store in Arkansas. Local grocery stores are looking at widening aisles and getting rid of, or moving, salad bars. They also might sell pre-packaging produce.
Many supermarkets have seen some success with pre-packaged bakery items and so the trend could continue. According to Supermarket News, people still want fresh, grab-and-go breads, donuts, muffins, and other bakery items. However, they want them to be sanitary, and the pre-coronavirus stations with no covering don't sit well with them. Placing these items in plastic bags was an easy alternative and could be permanent.
The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) recently released data saying sales of in-store bakery products decreased by about 15% during the pandemic compared to 2019. However, things like cookie and cupcake trays that weren't put out in March and April, are coming back.
IDDBA's educational coordinator Eric Richard told Supermarket News that customers who regularly purchased these items are ready to again. "Donuts and different dessert items have taken a significant hit. But we are starting to see a bit of an uptick lately, but nowhere near where we were at pre-pandemic," he says.
Soon you may notice more sales and promotions for bakery items to boost the number of items sold. But the grab-and-go style might not ever be back.
One bakery director for a store in Ohio says the pre-packaged bakery items in his store won't change. "I don't ever see our self-service bagel bars ever coming back, and we're going to be replacing the section with refrigerated grab-and-go cases for single-serve type products in the future," he says. "We're going to stay with the pre-sliced bread for those people who aren't comfortable coming to the counter."