Comfort food sales rise amid coronavirus self-isolation orders

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Shoppers are retreating back to comfort foods and shelf-stable items like Oreos, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and even Spam as they comply with orders to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, a Bloomberg report says.

In the week that ended March 14, popcorn sales were up 48%, pretzels up 47% and potato chips up 30% compared to a year earlier, according to Nielsen data cited by the outlet.

“People are retreating back into comfort habits,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty and in those kinds of times people tend to retreat to what’s known to them and what’s comforting to them.”

The shift back to packaged goods has been a boon for companies like General Mills Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and Kraft Heinz Co. which all saw sales gains between 10% and 20% for items like soup and breakfast foods in the four weeks ending March 8, a Bloomberg analysis found.

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Sales of Spam increases as much as 37% for that period.

Recent food pariahs like cow’s milk, red meat and potatoes are also making a comeback, Bloomberg found.


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