Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020 - 7

AEROFARMS, ZIVICA KERKEZ - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

combination of selfimposed restrictions
and social distancing
regulations which had a
large impact on instore
traffic. Most grocers
began experiencing
declines in instore
traffic compared to the
same timeframe last
year, but some grocers
have seen steeper
declines than others.
The two chains that
have taken the biggest
hit to instore traffic are
Whole Foods Market
and Trader Joe's. In the
first and second week
of April Whole Foods
saw a 50% decrease in
traffic year over year.
Trader Joe's experienced
a 45% dip the first week
of April which climbed
to a 55% decrease
the second week.
Placer pointed out
that both Whole Foods
and Trader Joe's are
heavily located in major
cities on the coasts,
which are among areas
that have been hit the
hardest from COVID-19
in the United States.
But Ethan Chernofsky,
Placer's vice president

of marketing, also thinks
the steep declines are a
result of the two retailers'
approach to business.
"The combination
of high prices and an
orientation towards less
frequent visits hurt both
brands, with Trader Joe's
also being affected by
its perception as a niche
grocer - as opposed to
a 'one-stop-shop' like
a Publix or Wegmans,"
Chernofsky said.
On the flip side, Kroger
and Albertsons have
had the most success
during the COVID-19
period so far. While
both companies have
experienced a decrease
in year-over-year instore
traffic, the lowest
they have dipped is
11.3% (Kroger) and
12% (Albertsons).
While Kroger and
Albertsons have location
distribution over areas
that haven't been hit
as hard by COVID-19,
Chernofsky noted that
their performances
rest on their traditional
approach of an "oldschool grocer" whose
goal is serving as the

core grocery for its
local community.
"These factors not
only position the brands
to do well now but to
perform well during the
inevitable economic
downturn to come that is
likely to prioritize grocery
shopping over eating
out," Chernofsky said.
In the middle,
Placer pointed toward
Wegmans and Publix as
being hard hit, but well
positioned. The first
week of April instore
traffic at Wegmans
dipped below 28.4%
year-over-year, and
the next week saw a
decline of 30.2%. Publix
also experienced its
worst week the second
week of April, dropping
26.1% year-over-year.
Both stores suffer from
the same geographical
downfalls of Whole
Foods and Trader Joe's,
with stores located
in heavily COVID-19
impacted areas. Yet
Chernofsky thinks the
brands are better suited
to move forward.
"The combination of
high customer loyalty
www.supermarketperimeter.com

SP_May20.indb 7

with a strong mix of
value and high-end
appeal positions both
brands to perform well in
the economic downturn
as well," said Chernofsky.
"Even more, elements
like Wegman's Market
Cafe could provide an
added value during the
coming months when
families look to find costeffective ways to eat."
Chernofsky said that
COVID-19 has opened
opportunities for grocers
to deepen the central
role they play in their
communities. He noted
that ideas like selling
ready-made meals
from local restaurants
or offering Blue Apron
style products could
provide a high margin
and give customers a
cost-effective 'date night'
or substitute dinner out.
"Traditional grocers
like Publix, Albertsons,
Kroger and Wegmans are
all benefitting from this
wave, with the likelihood
that they'll benefit even
more as the pandemic
subsides," Chernofsky
said. "Yet, there are
brands in this space who
could face challenges.
Whole Foods has an
urban orientation and a
perception as a highpriced grocer - both
elements that could
negatively impact visits
even when a sense of
normalcy returns."
"In an industry doing
better than most and
positioned to do well
during this period, there
are different degrees to
the potential success.
How these brands

orient themselves for
the coming months
may have a lot to say
about who the leaders
of the sector are in
the years to come."

Purdue University
releases COVID-19
food safety guide
In the wake of the
COVID-19 health crisis,
grocers, manufacturers,
farmers and consumers alike are living in
unprecedented and
uncertain times that
have led to many questions about food safety.
In response to the
pandemic, Purdue
University's Yaohua
"Betty" Feng, an
assistant professor
of food science, has
released a compilation
of the most accurate
information from
nationwide food experts
into a website food
safety guide which can
be accessed at https://
ag.purdue.edu/foodsci/
Fenglab/covid-19-foodsafety-information/.
The guide outlines
best practices for
consumer personal
hygiene, stopping
the spread of germs,
grocery shopping
recommendations,
guidelines for
farmers, producers,
manufacturers and
retailers, information for
extension educators and
online resources from
government agencies.
The website guide will
be continuously updated
with most up-to-date
information throughout
the COVID-19 pandemic.
MAY 2020 - 7

5/5/2020 4:09:20 PM


http://ag.purdue.edu/foodsci/fenglab/covid-19-food-safety-information/ http://www.supermarketperimeter.com

Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020

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