Entrepreneurial solutions to fix the reputation of grocery carts as harboring germs, viruses and disease-carrying microbes have been on the market for years. PureCart, another automatic cart-wash system, was launched in 2006 and rolled out to dozens of stores across the U.S.
Predictably, guidelines on grocery shopping issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic suggesting that shoppers disinfect shopping carts before use has caused more shoppers — and grocers — to pay attention to cart sanitation practices. A self-sanitizing shopping cart handle, originally launched in 2015, was reintroduced to the market this summer. Bluewater Technologies Group is also marketing a system to automatically sanitize shopping carts.
Ramping up the frequency and rigor of sterilization practices since March created unexpected costs for grocers, so Hy-Vee’s turn to automated solutions like the Sterile Cart is likely a cost-saving endeavor as well as a way to signal to consumers that the brand is taking cleanliness seriously.Grocery Dive