Sales of At-Home Cooking Products Soar

Consumers are trying new recipes and continuing to bake more as they spend time at home.

For example, there has been a “massive rise” in demand for instant coffee, far higher than before the pandemic, according to Mintel, reported Bloomberg (May 6). Nestle SA’s sales of instant coffee increased in most markets as closures of restaurants and cafes boost home consumption and consumers are “rediscovering” the instant variety. The rise can also be partly attributed to trendy social media recipes like the viral whipped coffee beverage, known as Dalgona, which uses instant coffee. Google Trends showed searches for Dalgona coffee accelerated sharply from early March onward.

“Consumers are spending more time at home and trying new recipes, reproducing for themselves the experience they enjoy in restaurants and cafes,” said Philipp Navratil, global head of beverage strategic business units at Nestle. “Dalgona coffee is just one example of the global trends we see in the coffee category.”

Navratil noted that as instant coffee is adapted for making recipes in a convenient way, the increase in demand could continue.

Meanwhile, carb-centric cooking appliances are experiencing a rise in sales, according to NPD Group. In the five weeks between March 15 and April 18, sales of electric pasta makers grew more than five times what they were a year ago, while breadmakers more than quadrupled sales.

Waffle irons, electric griddles, and rice cookers also experienced significant double-digit dollar growth in this five week period. With the exception of waffle irons, each category is seeing gains after two years of flat or declining sales.

“Whether seeking comfort food, meeting needs around hard-to-find grocery items, foods that provide leftovers, or creating new family activities to address boredom, consumers are turning to cooking appliances to help them make the most of their current living situation,” said Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at NPD. “During this time at home, consumers are finding ways to solve their new set of needs.

“Home has become our haven and as a result, small appliance sales have continued to surge since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S.,” added Derochowski. “Changes in consumer behaviors are driving important changes in the small appliance business, and the industry needs to think about where the focus may turn to next in order to continue to meet the needs of this new consumer.”

NPD’s study also found that over 80% of households have eggs, milk/cream, butter, and flour on hand and ready to use for bread, waffles, pasta, and more.

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen also noticed the pandemic led to increased sales of baking supplies, reported CNBC (May 6). For example, yeast sales are up 600%. McMullen expects some of those new habits to last.

“People are baking together as a family and they’re enjoying it and they’re connecting with their children in ways different than they had before because they were so busy,” McMullen said. “People are telling us they plan to keep doing that as things open back up.”