Research into consumer spending by data analyst IRI found that UK sales of canned meats jumped by 143.8% since 1 March 2020. It also found that consumers rushed to buy flour (up 145.5%), canned beans and pasta (up 120.1%), dried pasta (up 114%) and soup (up 116.7%).
Baby food saw the highest category increase in the food aisles, with shoppers buying 60.2% more than average in anticipation for the total lockdown now experienced across the country.
Sales of packaged foods, such as biscuits and crisps, took second place for shoppers with an increase of 42%, while frozen foods were up 32.8% – largely boosted by sales of frozen vegetables (up 42%).
News of sales growth from IRI matched similar reports from food and drink manufacturers, operating to cope with the increase in demand brought on consumer panic-buying.
During a press conference last month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary George Eustice revealed that manufacturers had had to boost production by 50% as the food supply chain dealt with spikes in demand similar to Christmas trading.
“We estimate that, in the past three weeks, around £1bn-worth of additional food has been put into households that has not yet been consumed,” he said.
Sales of frozen scampi have also seen a significant boost in the wake of the coronavirus, as consumers rushed to local supermarkets to stockpile the seafood.
Whitby Seafoods – reportedly the UK’s largest scampi manufacturer – claimed it had supplied 1 million portions of the breaded shellfish to its supermarket customers: Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
However, not every manufacturer has experienced the sales boost experienced by some businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sandwich producer Halal Kitchen has reported more than a 50% drop in sales and production as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The manufacturer – known for its Express Cuisine food-to-go brand – said the drop had been close to 70%, with other producers it worked with sharing similar stories, according to managing director Sohel Patel.