Edelman’s research shows people are opting for brands they trust with 54% saying they are not paying attention to new products at present, unless they are designed to help their pandemic-related life challenges

With our data also showing that 58% of shoppers had not done any online shopping for household consumables before the crisis, retailers have also had to elevate their online experience given the increased use of digital channels.

Yet sheer demand for key products, from baking ingredients to grooming – has also seen many retailers and brands move away from promotions, and indeed vouchers, as they focus on supply instead.

Today, ensuring key SKUs are available and not advertising products consumers can’t easily access is critical. Nearly 70% of consumers we surveyed said they had to buy different brands due to products being out of stock with over a quarter saying they will switch permanently.

While this could create new dynamics between own label and national brands in the future – retailers must be cautious when they analyse such patterns during the current pandemic which might be skewed by context, not choice.

But is this the death of the bricks and mortar grocer? Not in our view. In fact, Edelman’s Trust Barometer tell us grocery remains one of the most trusted sub sectors within food and beverage.

While there has been a clear switch/acceleration in e-commerce penetration, the customer of tomorrow is increasingly becoming an ‘omnichannel’ shopper. Many are far more comfortable with switching channels for different purchases since COVID-19.

While the accelerated shift to e-commerce sheds light on the importance of owning consumer data and D2C models, smart start-ups are also seeing the opportunity to connect restaurant grade suppliers direct with consumers with sophisticated palates. Some savvy restauranteurs are also offering subscription services – music to the ears of every foodie missing those signature dishes of their favourite local haunts.

However, it is important to not forget, food retail is still a sensory experience. While smart operators are looking beyond taste and touch on their e-commerce platforms to foster a feeling of community and togetherness, others with less established followings will face challenges in this digital evolution.  On the flipside – D2C companies are also looking to get into retail to extend distribution.

So, what does this mean? It is about doing the right thing for the customer. Innovating and collaborating in order to solve problems will build the trust needed to keep on their shopping list beyond this crisis.