How do consumers define cleanliness in grocery stores?
Cleanliness in grocery stores means much more than “clean up on aisle five.” According to a recent survey of Consumer Reports members, cleanliness standards in supermarkets, warehouse clubs and other grocery stores also includes bright lighting, shiny floors, gleaming glass and counters, and well-tended displays.
As part of the report, Cleaning Services Group (CSG), a janitorial and building services contractor that supports hospitals and retailers, provided its take on what qualities convince consumers that a supermarket is clean:
- Spotless entries: Keeping sidewalks outside venues free of coffee stains, cigarette butts, gum residue and other signs of grit. Stores dedicated to cleanliness regularly power wash their sidewalks.
- Sanitizers: Hand sanitizers in the vestibule and germ-prone areas such as the meat section reflect a concern for cleanliness. Some stores offer sanitary wipes for cart handles.
- Gleaming floors: Polished concrete in its natural, light gray color is replacing tan and brown colored floors that look messy as their colors fade. Dedicated retailers wash and buff their floors daily.
- Restrooms: In newer stores, restrooms can be found by the entrance and also near the fresh-prepared food dining area. Newer designs have bright lighting, multiple stalls, air fresheners and better accessibility. Dedicated stores inspect restrooms several times an hour.
- Quick spill cleanup: Porters responsible for spotting and mopping up messes should be roaming the store regularly. A machine with an extractor should be used to suck up spills and prevent stains from penetrating the floor finish.
Among the six regional grocers that landed in the top rating tier for cleanliness were H-E-B’s Central Market, Wegmans, Heinen’s, Gelson’s Markets and Market Basket. Eastern grocers Tops and Key Food received poor marks.
Trader Joe’s was the highest-rated national chain, while Walmart Supercenters received poor marks.
Survey responses came from more than 75,000 Consumer Reports members who rated the one or two supermarkets they go to most often.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think registers as cleanliness at grocery stores in the eyes of consumers? Have standards changed with the expansion of prepared foods offerings? Where do grocers often fall short?