Quarantine kitchens

As restaurants close and the options to eat out are dwindling for consumers, they’re forced to cook at home. They also stock up on food in case of a shortage.

Online and offline grocery shopping has reached historic highs. Data shows that between March 12-15, online grocery orders in the US were up 150% from last year. Grocery delivery app downloads also reached record levels. Instacart’s downloads jumped 215% from February 14 to March 15; they spiked 50% in one weekend alone after the coronavirus pandemic was declared. Walmart’s grocery app downloads also rose 45%.

Shopping trips in the UK spiked up before lockdown. The Nielsen data shows that British shoppers spent an extra $2.4 billion on groceries in the four weeks prior to March 21. This led to a 43% increase in sales.

Pandemic pantries

What do consumers buy during their many shopping trips or online orders? The main focus is on shelf-stable, long-lasting products.

Nielsen reports that Americans are buying more canned soup and dried beans. In the UK, sales of popular, easy-to-make basics spiked during the quarantine period.

In addition to dried and canned foods, consumers are also filling up their freezers. The UK frozen food market grew by 84% in the week ending on March 21 compared to last year. Restaurants and suppliers are scrambling, however, to meet this changing demand. Sysco, one of the biggest food distributors in the US, announced recently that it will switch from selling fresh meat and produce to frozen food. Eater reported in New York City that restaurants were starting to sell frozen food in bulk. This included frozen dumplings from the famous dim sum restaurant Nom Wah as well as family favorites like lasagna from I Trulli and sausage and bacon from The Meat Hook.

Comfort is King

The sales also show that customers are turning to their kitchens in search of comfort. In recent years, consumers have adopted healthier eating habits. However, now they are turning to processed childhood favorites.

Conagra Brands, which includes products like Slim Jim beef-jerky, Orville-Redenbacher popcorn, and the kitschy classic Chef Boyardee can pasta, reported that after a 5% drop in net sales by the end of February, shipments to retailers and in-store sales increased 50% in March. Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly stated in a Mad Money Interview that people are experiencing flashbacks of their childhood.

According to The New York Times, also reports, processed and junk food are making a comeback. “Shoppers are returning to their old favorites like Chef Boyardee, Campbell’s Soup, and Prego pasta sauce,” the newspaper reported.

At-home experts

Chefs are helping those who want to create restaurant favorites or refine their dishes.

Chefs of renown are sharing their knowledge with the increasing number of home cooks. On March 14, the Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura launched nightly free cooking classes on Instagram. Borough Market in London began streaming live cooking classes from top chefs on its newly created Facebook page on March 20, while Borough Market’s renowned produce market, Borough Market, started offering cooking classes by top chefs to their community on March 20.

Many popular eating places are offering recipes for their trademarked dishes so that diners can satisfy their cravings in the comfort of home. Pret-A-Manger, DoubleTree By Hilton, and Wagamama have all released their “secret” recipes for their famous chocolate chip cookies. Disney Parks has invited fans to “cook the magic at home,” with their recipe for churro bites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *