Food Retail Cleanliness: How Much do Customers Notice?

Whilst supermarket brands battle it out on price and food quality, is the issue of cleanliness being neglected? How much emphasis do consumers place on the cleanliness of their supermarket? And does it influence their shopping habits?

Rheingold conducted a study into just this issue and found some interesting results. Over 150 hours of interview material and around 70 hours of shopping descriptions were analysed across five cities in Europe.

The general consensus from the study revealed that customers perceive general conditions in supermarkets, including the cleanliness and hygiene, as often being neglected.

But does this put them off shopping?

Well, yes.

Shoppers feel alienated if floors, shelves, windows and fresh produce aisles are not kept clean. Furthermore, shoppers actually feel a sense of disgust when they happen upon unclean and dirty parts of the supermarket and will often avoid these areas. This gives them an incomplete shopping experience and can actually lead them to avoid the supermarket entirely.

The research also showed that a comprehensive hygiene routine ensures shoppers have a smooth shopping experience with no disgusting surprises and can help shoppers decide which supermarket to go to. Additionally, shoppers view a clean and well maintained supermarket as “reassuring.”

Participants in the study were particularly critical of the following areas, which supermarkets should pay close attention to:

• Entrance to the supermarket
• Fresh product counters
• Dairy aisle
• Freezer displays
• Checkout area

The above shows that first impressions count (entrance) and customers are particularly mindful of the areas where food hygiene most matters (fresh produce, dairy and freezer products) and where they are forced to be stationary (checkout).

Interestingly, customers do not demand anything too excessive when it comes to supermarket cleanliness. In fact, they actually find a supermarket that has been excessively buffed to within a sparkling inch of its life a little off-putting. The research showed that in this case, a too clean supermarket can make shoppers feel uncomfortable and as though they are themselves dirty and out of place.



It’s clear the cleanliness of a supermarket is important to customers. Shoppers find a well-presented and hygienic supermarket a pleasant experience and a good cleaning routine can improve the attractiveness of a supermarket. To ensure your supermarket is up to scratch, why not hire industrial cleaning equipment from Karcher Hire? We have an array of machines that can help you keep your supermarket clean and inviting for prospective and returning customers. Whether you need a scrubber dryer, escalator cleaner or a floor polisher, you can find it here at Karcher.

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