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Survey Reveals Online Holiday Grocery Shopping Behavior

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Phononic has announced new survey findings that highlight the attitudes and behaviors of consumers and retailers towards grocery shopping, with a focus on curbside pickup and delivery of fresh and frozen food.

Phononic’s “The State of Online Grocery Shopping 2022: This Holiday & Beyond,” conducted by Regina Corso Consulting, surveyed more than 1,200 consumers and grocery retailers to learn more about their needs and concerns around grocery shopping. The results show an evolving landscape in grocery e-commerce and fulfillment, highlighting consumer trust issues, food safety, inflation and sustainability.

More than 50 percent of U.S. consumers have returned to in-store shopping year-round. During the busier holiday season, however, that figure increases: 70 percent of consumers surveyed in Phononic’s “The State of Online Grocery Shopping: This Holiday and Beyond” expect to go in-store for their holiday meal and/or holiday party groceries.

Seven in 10 stated that they would order more fresh or frozen food with their grocery delivery if they felt confident that these foods would arrive still fresh or frozen. These findings show that consumers have yet to fully trust retailers to deliver important grocery items.

Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed admit that they are concerned about keeping their food fresh and/or frozen at curbside pick-up and delivery over the critical holiday season and beyond, further acknowledging a lack of equipment and cold chain technology needed to address this problem.

Despite these findings, 84 percent of retailers expect their online grocery operations to increase in the next year. This is likely due to the high demand for delivery and pick-up amongst Millennials and Gen Z. Although Baby Boomers and Gen X may be driving in-store shopping (83 percent and 79 percent, respectively), it’s likely that retailers anticipate that the online grocery delivery and curbside pick-up trend will continue to expand, along with the continued growth of the younger generations.

While there is foreseen growth in the sector, the survey reveals that those who are shopping online believe that there is plenty of room for improvement regarding product quality, safety, cost and sustainability.

“As grocery retailers further invest in improving their online delivery options, cooling technology solutions that ensure food safety for fresh and/or frozen food and a strong ROI throughout the entire operation are critical,” said Dana Krug, SVP and general manager.

“The challenges that our new survey highlights – notably, concerns around consumer trust, food safety, inflation, and sustainability – show that there’s a real opportunity for retailers to strengthen their operations and address these needs. With cold chain technology slated to be a multimillion-dollar investment for nearly a third of retailers surveyed over the coming year, identifying more sustainable solutions such as solid state cooling technology can offer game-changing results for both retailers and consumers. Retailers that can tackle these issues while considering a sustainable way to do so, will claim and keep their stake in this fast-evolving sector of the industry.”

Phononic’s actively-cooled tote platform and solution uses naturally-occurring CO2 and water as its refrigerant, providing a non-toxic, low carbon footprint option for retailers and their cold chain partners.

Adds Krug, “Implementing solid state cooling solutions such as ours has the potential to revolutionize the industry – delivering a much higher ROI for retailers and ultimately helping consumers feel a much greater trust in the quality of their fresh and frozen food.”

For more information about the research, click here.

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