In a stark reversal, American shoppers who were taking up healthier eating are gravitating back to old ways as they hunker down to weather the coronavirus pandemic. They are loading up on shelf-stable items from canned meat and soup to pretzels and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese as they comply with orders to stay home.
Bloomberg reports the shift back from healthier fare toward traditional staples may boost the fortunes of packaged food companies, which have been struggling with lagging sales as consumers opted for fresher alternatives.
General Mills Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and Kraft Heinz Co. saw sales gains between 10% and 20% in the rolling four weeks that ended March 8 for items such as soup and breakfast food, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Diana Rosero-Pena said in a Thursday report, citing IRI data. Hormel Food Corp.’s sales of Spam increased as much as 37% and Oreo-maker Mondelez International Inc. saw growth in the sales of cookies and crackers.
|Goodbye Kale..Hello Ice Cream|
Meat eaters are no longer cutting back on animal protein as beef cases at grocery stores have been cleaned out and profit margins for packers have spiked to all-time highs.
Meat is “flying off the shelves” and in some locations there are completely empty rows of dried meat snacks, according to the report.
Milk is also seeing a boost after decades of poor sales and dwindling consumption. Cows milk sales increased 32% for the week ended March 14 compared with a year earlier, according to Nielsen.
Even the humble potato is having a moment. After years of low-carb diets scaring some shoppers away, spuds are disappearing from shelves across the nation.