Whole Foods took the top spot based on in-store visits by mystery shoppers to more than 5,700 retailers across the United States.

By Better Homes & Gardens
June 12, 2020
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Wearing face masks and limiting the number of people in a store are just a couple ways grocery shopping changed these past few months due to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). For the launch of its Consumer Health & Safety Index, global research firm Ipsos provided results of a survey revealing which retailers are successfully carrying out proper health and safety measures. While there were some shocking findings (for example, 64 percent of the stores visited had no staff actively cleaning high traffic areas), a few stores outshined the rest.

The two-part study first surveyed 2,000 Americans to understand which health and safety attributes are most important to consumers with everything currently going on. Those key health and safety practices include proper face coverings, managing the number of customers entering stores, proper social distancing markers at checkout, employees visibly wiping down high-traffic areas, and plexiglass dividers at checkout. Keeping those practices in mind, thousands of mystery shoppers surveyed 45 major U.S. brands at more than 5,700 retailers total. Here are the three stores that offer the best display of safety measures according to the study's findings.

Trader Joe's

From temporary closures to adjusting store hours, Trader Joe's is consistently doing what's best for its employees and customers. The beloved food store surpassed all other grocery stores with 94 percent providing an employee at the entrance to limit the number of customers inside at once. Other retailers surveyed had this practice in place only 58 percent of the time on average.

Costco

For the Ipsos survey, mystery shoppers were pleased to find Costco employees wearing face coverings properly outside (83 percent) as well as inside (94 percent) the store. Proper social distancing markers were also present at 94 percent of stores visited. In addition to safety rules, Costco also launched helpful perks such as giving healthcare workers priority access and refusing returns on high-demand items.

Whole Foods

Coming out on top, pretty much every Whole Foods visited complied with the safety measures most important to consumers. The employees are wearing face coverings inside (98 percent), maintaining 6-foot boundaries with customers (91 percent), and providing plexiglass barriers at checkout (95 percent). They're also offering free face masks (as it's mandatory for all customers to wear one) to customers as well as contactless payment (87 percent).

As stay-at-home orders are lifted across the nation, the study revealed 61 percent of consumers are still avoiding physically entering brick-and-mortar locations. If you're still cautious about getting out, you can opt to complete your grocery shopping online. And if you are able, you can also help out your senior neighbors and friends by volunteering to shop for them.

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