April 22, 2020
By the Numbers: Grocery shopping habits during COVID-19

A new survey of Canadian attitudes and behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis finds that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the grocery shopping habits of Canadians and their families, with a majority of people saying they are buying more food products than they normally would. 

Entitled “COVID-19: Weekly Monitoring of Canadian Perceptions & Behaviour – Wave 5,” the Angus Reid Institute survey interviewed Canadian adults across the country between April 13 to 14, asking people how and whether their perceptions and behaviours have changed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

When it comes to grocery shopping habits throughout the pandemic, 70 percent of Canadians say they are comfortable with “cautiously” going to the grocery store, 16 percent are “fine” with grocery shopping in-store, and only 14 percent claim they are avoiding stores.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of shoppers say they are making more meals at home, and 45 percent are using their newfound downtime to try new recipes.

At the grocery store, 51 percent of Canadians claim they are “buying extra food for the longer term,” while 28 percent say they are purchasing more hygiene products – like hand sanitizer and toilet paper – as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 22 percent of shoppers claim they are buying healthier food to boost their immunity, and an equal percentage of respondents say they have been getting someone else to do their grocery shopping for them.

Notably, 15 percent of Canadians say they have not changed their grocery shopping habits during the COVID-19 crisis.

The survey sample was balanced and weighted based on age, gender, and province according to the latest Census data, and the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times of out 20. To see the full survey, click here.

As the union for food workers, UFCW Canada represents tens of thousands of members working in the food retail sector across the country, at companies such as Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Fortinos, Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Metro, Food Basics, Super C, Save-On-Foods, Federated Co-operatives Limited, and Fresh St. Markets, among others. To learn more about UFCW’s presence in the food retail industry, see our latest Annual Report.