Fresh Food

Strategies that Keep Customers Safe While They Shop

How retailers have adapted to shoppers’ changing habits amid the pandemic
Photograph: Shutterstock

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic dramatically changed the way people lived their lives. Stay-at-home orders sent many workers away from their offices indefinitely, restaurant dining rooms shuttered and heightened caution among consumers led to safety measures unlike anyone had ever seen before. Wearing masks when shopping for groceries became—and it still is, in many parts of the country—commonplace, and ensuring produce remained uncontaminated by other shoppers became a challenge both for retailers and consumers alike.

But retailers have quickly adapted. As consumers’ shopping habits shifted—from shopping a couple times a week, perhaps, to once every week or two weeks; purchasing more groceries at one time; and purchasing more prepared foods and ready-to-heat foods to take the place of more traditional restaurant dining—so did retailers’ strategies. Strategies to keep consumers safe included an array of ideas, from vulnerable-shopper hours to one-way aisles. Among the strategies introduced to ensure customer satisfaction was the addition of packaged produce, which helped keep shoppers safe—and produce from being touched by multiple people before ultimately ending up in someone’s cart.

How packaging helps with safety

Flexible packaging for produce, such as the options offered by TC Transcontinental Packaging, make it easier for shoppers to grab what they need and keep shopping. For instance, foods such as green beans or apples can be portioned out into ready-to-grab packages for shoppers, instead of having them pick and choose how many they would like. This helps reduce the number of people who touch each food item, plus it can help save time for shoppers and help them move through the store more quickly—reducing traffic in the store and making social distancing easier.

Retailers can use packaging to wrap up a pound or two of fruits or vegetables—enough for families to go through in a few days or a week—and cut down the time consumers need to spend browsing the produce aisles. This can work at the bakery, too. Prepackaged loaves of bread or rolls help cut down the number of times a pastry case needs to be opened and, again, cuts down on how many people touch the food.

Convenience for busy consumers

Another way bags and packaged produce help retailers is by enabling them to offer consumers convenient, ready-to-heat options that they can take home and prepare in minutes. As consumers are busier than ever with work, at-home learning for their kids and more, being able to get lunch or dinner on the table fast can be a lifesaver. Retailers know this, and even amid hot bar closures have found new ways to offer their customers the convenience they need.

Steam N Eat® bags from TC Transcontinental Packaging, for example, are available in two sizes and are designed with customized laser venting technology for proper heating in the microwave. This allows consumers to simply pop a bag of produce in the microwave when they’re ready to prepare a meal. Lidding film, another TC Transcontinental Packaging product, is perfect for covering pre-made food items such as salads. With exceptional sealant properties with consistent peel strength, retailers can continue selling prepared foods such as salads or sides without having to put every ingredient out onto a hot or cold bar. By keeping meals and dishes pre-packaged, the risk of contamination is virtually eliminated.

As shoppers’ concern for safety is likely to remain high for quite some time, retailers accommodating these needs will be seen as the retailers that consumers can trust. To learn more about packaging that helps increase safety in the perimeter of the store, click here.

This post is sponsored by TC Transcontinental Packaging

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