Out with the kale, in with the Goldfish

When Americans go to the grocery store to top off their quarantine stockpiles, they're heading straight for the junk food.


April 9, 2020

The titans of the junk food world are rejoicing.

When Americans zip through the grocery store to top off their quarantine stockpiles, they aren’t reaching for the low-carb, low-fat meals that gained popularity in recent years. They’re heading straight for the popcorn, the Goldfish, the Oreos, and the SpaghettiOs.

Uh oh, the health foods must go

That’s big news for the likes of Conagra Brands, J.M. Smucker, and Kraft Heinz — all of whom struggled to stay relevant in the health-conscious 2010s.

Thanks to quarantine, traditional snack products are up big:

  • Campbell’s soup saw sales jump 59% compared to last year.
  • Pretzel sales are up 47%.
  • Goldfish crackers are seeing a 23% bump.

Just let us have nice things, OK?

As The New York Times noted, part of the reason for the junk-food surge is that people are abandoning old rules like “no chips in the house.”

But it also goes deeper than that: We just need comfort right now. And for many, cooking childhood comfort foods — or just snacking on them — is a psychological balm.

That shift to old-school comforts is happening across the board, even outside of the food sector. People are turning to puzzles, Pokémon, and Club Penguin to resurrect some glimmer of childhood joy.

The trend’s got us wondering… 

What childhood favorites are you turning back to these days? They can be beloved foods, or items you dug out of the depths of your closet. Let us know here.

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