Do Supermarkets Meet Expectations When Consumers Need Them Most?

August 28, 2017

Supermarkets are primary food resources and community hubs, consumers look to them for stability. Find out how your fellow consumers felt about how grocers handled the recent weather surprises.

The nation has coped with plenty of natural disasters  – from summertime hurricanes to snowstorms that have paralyzed parts of the country. And now Tropical Storm Harvey has wreaked havoc with unrelenting rains that have left an estimated 30,000 seeking shelter in Texas. In times like these, retailers are a valuable support system for communities hit hard by natural disaster. 

Because supermarkets are primary food resources and community hubs, consumers look to them for stellar behavior when disasters strike. What do people specifically want food stores to do at these times, and how do they reward the ones that come through in the clutch? 

An exclusive Quick Poll has the answers, from a national respondent base that largely (70%) has first-hand experience with an earthquake, hurricane, flood or fire in their area.

Only 10% of consumers felt their primary supermarket behaved “above and beyond expectations”; an identical 10% were “disappointed” in the store’s performance. By comparison, 42% “didn’t know or didn’t notice a difference,” and 28% felt the store performed “as expected.”

The specific actions sought by the majority of consumers (who were able to give multiple responses):
• Don’t price gouge (77%)
• Keep ample amounts of food, beverage, and hard goods necessities available (77%)
• Do whatever they could to support local police, fire and rescue teams (71%)
• Display items such as bottled water, batteries, manual can openers, ice and coolers prominently to help quicken store trips (70%)
• Donate to local food charities (60%)

Could stores that perform well in emergency situations improve their future prospects and win primary shoppers from competitors in their area? Yes, according to survey findings. Nearly half of respondents (48%) said they’d “likely give a try” and consider switching their primary shopping to the store that excels in tough circumstances. Nearly one-quarter (23%) said “definitely.” Another 18% said they’d “have to see if their assortment and prices are in line with our tastes and budgets.”

If a primary supermarket excelled as a community resource during a disaster, how would shoppers react? Three out of four (76%) would tell friends and family about it; more than half (61%) would give the store a greater share of their business; and one-third (33%) would social media to tell people about it, the survey showed.

If you are a retailer that would like to particpate in raising funds for disaster relief. Here are some options: 

  • DONATE CLOTHING, SUPPLIES - is accepting gently used clothes, toiletries,  hygiene products, and non-pershiable foods.
  • DONATE MONEY - The American Red Cross is accepting donations for disaster relief. -800-RED CROSS (733-2767) - Text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation, The Salvation Army is also accepting donations at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)
  • HELP PETS - SPCA of Texas is expecting 300 cats and dogs to come to North Texas. Monetary donations can be made online at