Comfort foods make a comeback

    Comfort foods from big brands are seeing a resurgence, executives say, as consumers seek familiarity and convenience amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Many shoppers have favored fresh and specialty brands over Big Food’s processed products in recent years, while others have opted for cheaper store brands. Now, the world’s largest makers of packaged foods say frozen pizza, pasta sauce, and mac and cheese are rising in favor as consumers in lockdown eat at home.

    Nestlé SA NSRGY 3.04% became the latest to detail the trend Friday when it reported stronger organic sales growth for the first quarter driven by Americans stockpiling its DiGiorno pizza, Stouffer’s frozen meals and Hot Pockets sandwiches. Baking brands like Toll House and Carnation also performed well, it said…

    Overall, U.S. store sales of soup rose 37%, canned meat climbed 60% and frozen pizza jumped 51% for the week to April 11, according to research firm Nielsen…

    “We’ve seen time and time again that big brands tend to do well when people are feeling anxious and under threat,” Chief Executive Alan Jope said. He added that he expects the shift to larger brands to last a couple of years.

I wonder how general this trend is. I have seen data that readers are buying more long classic novels, and I am struck by my anecdotal observations of satellite radio. I am driving much less than before (where is there to go?), but per minute it seems I am more likely to hear “Hey Jude” and “In My Life” on the Beatles channel than in times past. Who wants to go out for their periodic 20-minute jaunt and have to sit through 6:34 of George Harrison’s “It’s All too Much”?

Here is the full WSJ story by Saabira Chaushuri. As for food, I am more inclined to consume items that can be easily shipped and stored, and if need be frozen. That favors meat and beans, and disfavors fresh fruit and bread. Frozen corn is a big winner, as are pickles. The relative durable cauliflower and squash do better than some of the more fragile vegetables, such as leaf spinach. I am not desiring comfort food per se, but I do wish to cook dishes requiring a relatively small number of items (otherwise maybe I can’t get them all), and that does almost by definition overlap with the comfort food category.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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1 Response to Comfort foods make a comeback

  1. Bacon Wrapped says:

    Old is new again.

    – My Instant Pot has been busy. Old technology made new again.
    – We eat (cornmeal) grits twice a week, where we might have eaten them twice year previously (my family is mostly native Californian). Old food made new again.
    – I’m in my mid-40s, and growing up in the 80s, I felt like our microwave was running all the time. Until recently I’d be surprised if we used our five times a week. Now it’s warming, defrosting, or melting something multiple times day.
    – I’m seriously considering making a meatloaf next week.

    I hope you have and use a pressure cooker Tyler. It’s a wonderful device and I wish I had not been afraid to use one most of my life.

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