Grocers Aren’t Prepared for a Disaster Event

… even though 40% of grocers have experienced such an event in the past two years.

March 30, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Most U.S. grocery retailers are ill-prepared for a disaster event, even as the number of crises in the United States and in grocery stores is increasing, reports Progressive Grocer.

The site reports that 40% of grocery retailers said they have had at least one crisis or emergency incident in the past two years, and half of the respondents also said that the threat of disaster in their store(s) is higher than just five years ago. 

Most respondents (78%) said it is important to be prepared to respond to a crisis and provide crisis communications to customers, employees and others in the community when necessary. But when asked how prepared their organization is to respond to a crisis (shooting, weather-related disaster, data breach/cybersecurity incident or health-related emergency) and to be able to communicate quickly and effectively, only 19% said they were very well-prepared. Around 32% said they were somewhat well-prepared, 21% said they don’t know, 23% said they are not very prepared and 5% said they are not well-prepared at all. Nearly half of survey respondents (48%) also said their organization does not have a crisis communications plan currently in place.

“Attempting to develop a crisis communications plan in the middle of a crisis is akin to learning to swim when you’re drowning,” said Judi Kletz, former P&G executive and industry communications leader. “If you’re lucky enough to survive, the result could wind up having lasting long-term effects on your company, its people and ultimately its reputation,”

“It’s not a question of whether a retail chain or one of its stores will be affected by a crisis, but when,” said Roger Lowe, a former CPG trade association executive and former communications leader for the American Red Cross “This research shows that while nearly all the respondents agree that a crisis communications plan is important to reach customers, employees and others in the community, only about half are actually prepared with a plan.”

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