Fruit Snacks, Pretzels See Lifts From ‘Pandemic Pantries’ Purchases

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New York — Shoppers are thinking beyond emergency items such as canned goods and bottle water as they shop for ‘pandemic pantries,’ according to The Nielsen Co. (US), LLC, which notes fruit snacks and pretzels are seeing dollar and unit sales gains.

For the one-week period ending February 22, fruit snack dollar sales were up more than 12 percent, while units grew nearly 5 percent, the global marketing research company reports. Dollar sales for pretzels were up 9 percent during the period, while units were up more than 5 percent.

Nielsen is also projecting growth for ecommerce sales, with factors beyond consumer purchasing driving lifts. For example, small- and medium-sized retailers can use ecommerce to keep stores stocked, as has been seen in Chinese markets, according to Nielsen. The market research company notes this was not an option 17 years ago during the SARS outbreak.

“Because shopping behavior is so much different than during the SARS outbreak, and because the government started to control the issue sooner, we think the retail impact cycle will be shorter,” says Ryan Zhou, vice-president, consumer packaged goods, Nielsen China. “Store sourcing is also much different today, and online suppliers have reacted very, very quickly by offering store owners, for example, mobile applications for sourcing orders. So online has really helped suppliers react and adjust their supply systems in ways that didn’t exist during SARS.”