U of G Food Economist on How COVID-19 Is Changing Grocery Shopping

Professor in a grocery aisle

Prof. Mike von Massow

The COVID-19 lockdowns convinced many Canadians to start ordering their groceries online, either for pickup or delivery, but will those changes last and change the way we grocery shop over the long term?

Prof. Michael von Massow expects Canadians’ new-found love of online grocery shopping to increase as the pandemic wears on.

Von Massow is a food economist in U of G’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and studies the performance of food supply chains.

He said Canada has lagged behind the U.S. and many European countries when it comes to online grocery ordering. And while many Canadians now feel comfortable returning to in-person shopping, he expects use of online ordering to continue to increase.

“What COVID has done is it’s accelerated the growth of online grocery ordering,” he recently told CTV Morning Live Ottawa.

Von Massow noted though that grocery chains are still trying to find ways to make delivery more affordable and consistent because it is currently very expensive and often consumers often don’t get what they want.

Not only is there the cost the actual delivery, but there are many people behind the scenes doing the item selection, managing the inventories, and all those people cost money.

Some grocery chains are trying models in which they use a separate warehouse dedicated solely to delivery service; others are experimenting with different ways of scaling delivery. “Finding the right business model will be the key to successful growth,” he said.

Prof. Von Massow is the author of the Food Focus blog. He is available for interviews.

Contact:

Prof. Michael von Massow
mvomass@uoguelph.ca

 

Watch Prof. Prof. Von Massow on CTV Morning Live Ottawa.