“Grocery shopping is no longer a pleasure”: survey reveals a change in relationship with food


A majority of Canadians say their grocery shopping habits will not return to normal after the pandemic ends, new research shows.

About half of adults under the age of 55 surveyed said they would cook more at home, as did 40% of those over the age of 55. About 22% of respondents under the age of 35 said they went to restaurants more often than before the crisis, and fewer of the more than 1,500 respondents said they would order meal kits or grocery products online more often and would regularly use food delivery apps.

The results reveal Canadians’ changing attitudes toward grocery stores, said Sylvain Charlebois of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, who conducted the new survey in partnership with Angus Reid.

About 64% of respondents said they shop less frequently than before the pandemic.

“Canadians realize that grocery shopping is no longer a pleasure and they know it will last a while,” he said on CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “For decades, grocers have been trying to make you feel at home in a grocery store, but now you look at a security guard, you have to line up, (follow) the instructions. “

Although many grocers remained open as essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not as usual. The new standard of queues and limited capacity, door temperature controls and grocery clerks in personal protective equipment are causing major changes in the food retail industry and possibly be keeping people away from stores and the Internet. Dalhousie researchers say food delivery apps could generate “well over $ 2.5 billion by the end of 2020” due to the pandemic. In 2019, the figure was close to $ 1.5 billion.

“Online food purchases have tripled since COVID started,” said Charlebois. “More people will not only find it convenient to buy online, but will also find it safe.”

Canadians have changed their habits in stores as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Over 80% of those surveyed said they used a hand sanitizer when shopping. Over 40% said they bring their own bags. About 30% said they wore a cloth face mask and more than a quarter wore gloves in grocery stores.

About 42 percent of those polled said they wiped groceries with a disinfectant when they returned home, although experts say there is little evidence to suggest this practice is necessary. In an interview with CNN, a scientist who studied how long the new coronavirus can survive on surfaces said it doesn’t bother to wipe groceries or takeout.

“I treat my hands as potentially contaminated while I handle the groceries and unpack them and make sure to wash them properly when I’m done with this process,” said Jamie Lloyd-Smith.


A total of 1,503 Canadians were interviewed in April 2020. The sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to borough.


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