Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, only 13% of the U.S. population was buying groceries online, and this figure has more than doubled to north of 30%, FreshDirect founder and former CEO Jason Ackerman said on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
Ackerman: Grocery Delivery A Trade-Off During Pandemic
The growth in online grocery shopping is "off the charts," which does create a scenario where customers might have to wait a week for their delivery, Ackerman said.
There aren't enough delivery trucks and workers to keep up with demand.
This does create some safety concerns, especially among the large segment of the population that does not want a stranger touching their food products, he said.
Ackerman acknowledged these concerns and said online groceries are a "trade-off," as the service eliminates the need for clients to leave their homes.
Separately, Ackerman was named permanent CEO of cannabis company
Terrascend Corp (OTC: TRSSF) Tuesday and told CNBC the industry is similar to the grocery sector.
Cannabis orders saw a "spike in demand" from the pandemic, especially in online orders for in-stoe pickup and home delivery, the CEO said.
Why 'Good Service' Is Important Now
Grocery stores are experiencing some shortages of items and consumers could get frustrated with delayed deliveries, Ackerman said.
But the test right now for the industry to overcome is to "give a good service" to reinforce the benefits of online shopping, he said.
What's Next For Grocers
Looking beyond the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of new customers have indicated in surveys that they plan to buy online once it's over, Ackerman said.
Grocers need to take action today by looking at their infrastructure and test new ways to take advantage of big opportunities in the future, he said.
"I anticipate there will be a sustained, long-term increase in the threshold for customers who are buying online."
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