SHOPPERS have ranked Lidl, Iceland and the Co-op as the least Covid-safe supermarkets.
Consumer watchdog Which? has warned that despite safety measures put in place by supermarkets to reduce infection risks during the pandemic, only two in five shoppers have felt safe in-store during the current lockdown.
Supermarkets have remained open during all the national and local lockdowns as they are classed as essential retailers.
They have introduced a range of measures such as checkout screens, limits on the number of people allowed in stores and floor markings for social distancing.
But research by Which? has found that the measures taken by some brands are falling short for consumers who are feeling unsafe in-store.
The group asked 2,010 members of the public how they felt about supermarket shopping during the current lockdown that began in January.
Only 38% said they felt safe.
But just before the second lockdown in October 2020, 49% said they felt safe.
Just two-thirds of Lidl and Iceland customers rated the supermarkets’ measures as good or excellent.
A Lidl customer complained the aisles were too “narrow to easily social distance,” while an Iceland customer said there was a “distinct lack of sanitising products when entering the store.”
Lidl said in a statement that the health and safety of its colleagues and customers “remained our top priority.”
The supermarket said it reminds customers about wearing face masks and has floor markings to encourage social distancing as well as dedicated sanitising stations and checkout screens.
Iceland said the Which? findings were based on a relatively small sample, and are not representative of the feedback it has had.
A spokesperson said: “We have invested heavily in making our stores as safe as possible throughout the pandemic, continuing to update our policies and safety measures in line with government guidelines.”
The Co-op and Asda also finished in the bottom half of the research.
One Co-op customer said there were “too many people allowed in store and no enforcement of the one way aisle system.”
An Asda customer also complained that there were “too many people in-store, no one-way system …and too many people without masks.”
A Co-op spokesperson said: “Keeping our colleagues and customers safe is our top priority and we have introduced clear social distancing measures to protect everyone in our stores, in line with government advice.
“Traffic light entry systems, protective screens, face coverings, one-way systems, floor markers and hand gels have been implemented throughout the pandemic, with 92% of shoppers happy with these measures.”
Shoppers ranked Sainsbury’s as the most Covid-safe, with eight in 10 customers rating its procedures as good or excellent.
One customer explained that they “feel generally safe, as the store is spacious and the option of self-serve with screens is good.”
Sainsbury’s was closely followed by Waitrose and M&S, with 78% and 79% of customers respectively rating their Covid-safety measures highly.
Which? is urging all supermarkets to ensure safety measures remain a top priority so customers can shop confidently and safely as lockdown measures are eased in the coming months.
Harry Rose, editor of Which? Magazine, said: “Many retailers have adapted and introduced effective safety measures during the pandemic, however our research shows shoppers feel some supermarkets are doing a better job than others at keeping them safe.
“While lockdown restrictions are set to ease in the next few weeks, supermarkets should ensure their safety measures are the best they can be, so that everyone can shop confidently and safely.”
Some stores have placed limits on the number of items you can buy to stop panic buying and ensure there is enough to go round.
The majority of retailers have also increased their stance on customers wearing face masks while shopping.
Make sure you are familiar with the lockdown rules at your local supermarket.