Expert Pitch
Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph's University Experts Available to Discuss the Impact Coronavirus Could Have on the Grocery Industry

24-Mar-2020 1:30 PM EDT, by Saint Joseph's University

Physical distancing due to the coronavirus threat is at the root of the the online grocery delivery trend, but that doesn’t mean it, or other consumer habits adopted out of necessity, will completely go away once the pandemic has been contained, say two Saint Joseph’s experts.

 John L. Stanton, Ph.D., professor of food marketing and Ernest Baskin, Ph.D.,  assistant professor of food marketing, are available to discuss these trends and how the rise in new customers for online grocery services is also exposing weaknesses in many companies’ models. 

Customers tend to get stuck in particular buying habits and often won’t change unless something big happens to push them out of their inertia, Stanton explains. 

As an example, he points to a trend that arose during the 2008 recession: Strapped for cash, many Americans started buying private label goods — and didn’t stop, even after their financial situations got better.

“Lo and behold, people realized that private labels were really good products and wondered why they weren’t buying them all along,” he says.

The online grocery industry was growing rapidly before coronavirus — a 2019 report from Business Insider shows its market value doubling between 2016 and 2018. But that growth was coming from a small overall base. Stanton says some of the new customers will go back to their usual routine once the crisis is over, but many won’t.

“If I was the grocery industry, I’d be advertising home delivery like crazy,” he says.

“It’s really pushing the grocery delivery model to the breaking point,” Baskin says. “Stores are experiencing such a surge in those orders and they were unprepared. Some stores had advertised grocery delivery in two hours and you can no longer do that – they’re running backlogs of a day or two days.”

Amazon and a number of local grocery chains have announced plans in recent days to hire thousands of workers to help deal with the demand. But Baskin says many also need to focus on their inventory systems and how they tie into online grocery platforms, some of which are run by third parties. He notes that many consumers could be putting items in their carts that show as being in stock only to find out once the delivery comes that the goods actually weren’t available in store or had to be substituted.

“There will be some fallout from that, definitely, but I think a good amount of people will be pleasantly surprised about how easy and convenient it is to order online,” he says.

Baskin says the mass buying of certain items could also have longer-term consequences. For example, companies could stop producing certain products or more esoteric flavors of their brands in the short term so they can turn those lines over to supplying what’s in higher demand. And consumers might get used to not being able to buy those items once they become scarce.

“It takes time to switch over a product line and you can produce more if you keep making the same flavor over and over again,” Baskin says. “Once we get over the coronavirus, many of those products might stay out of stock because of the switching of production lines, and it might take an ad campaign or some sort of consumer education effort to get people interested in them again.”

While the grocery industry as a whole and some products in particular stand to gain from the pandemic, Baskin says they have to be careful about how they react.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2539
Released: 13-Jul-2020 4:05 PM EDT
OADN & AACN Secure No-Cost Access to COVID-19 Screening Solution Until Vaccines Become Widely Available
Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN)

OADN & AACN Secure No-Cost Access to COVID-19 Screening Solution Until Vaccines Become Widely Available

Newswise: Study suggests lymphoma drug acalabrutinib might offer a potential therapeutic approach for severe COVID-19 infection
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:45 PM EDT
Study suggests lymphoma drug acalabrutinib might offer a potential therapeutic approach for severe COVID-19 infection
Hackensack Meridian Health

The mechanisms of action of acalabrutinib led to the hypothesis it might be effective in reducing the massive inflammatory response seen severe forms of COVID19. Indeed, it did provide clinical benefit in a small group of patients by reducing their inflammatory parameters and improving their oxygenation.

Newswise: National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Unites DOE Labs Against COVID-19
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:40 PM EDT
National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Unites DOE Labs Against COVID-19
Department of Energy, Office of Science

To focus its efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, DOE is bringing the national laboratories together into the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory.

Newswise: Key Insights from Swedish Casino that Remained Open During COVID-19
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:40 PM EDT
Key Insights from Swedish Casino that Remained Open During COVID-19
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

As casinos in Las Vegas enter the second month of reopening since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, UNLV gaming researchers say they can draw upon insights from industry collaborators in Sweden, a country that took a more open approach to the crisis compared to other governments.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Asymptomatic Transmission and Reinfection of COVID: Live Event for July 16, 2PM EDT

Emerging data shows more risk of asymptomatic transmission and reinfection with COVID than previously thought. Experts will discuss these findings and what are the implications for managing the pandemic. Media are invited to attend and ask questions.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 2:40 PM EDT
Engineered llama antibodies neutralize COVID-19 virus
Rosalind Franklin Institute

Antibodies derived from llamas have been shown to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus in lab tests, UK researchers announced today.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 1:25 PM EDT
1 in 3 young adults may face severe COVID-19
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

As the number of young adults infected with the coronavirus surges throughout the nation, a new study by researchers at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals indicates that youth may not shield people from serious disease.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 12:25 PM EDT
Scientists discover key element of strong antibody response to COVID-19
Scripps Research Institute

A team led by scientists at Scripps Research has discovered a common molecular feature found in many of the human antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 11:15 AM EDT
UTHealth joins study of blood pressure medication’s effect on improving COVID-19 outcomes
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

An interventional therapy aimed at improving survival chances and reducing the need for critical care treatment due to COVID-19 is being investigated by physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The clinical trial is underway at Memorial Hermann and Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Showing results

110 of 2539