The growth of plant-based food sales has far outpaced total food sales increases in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data published by the Plant Based Foods Association and SPINS, a market analytics firm.
Demand for olive oil has increased recently. We presume it is due to the increased demand at grocery stores due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Sales of plant-based foods grew by 90 percent through mid-March, compared to the same period last year, as Americans flooded supermarkets during a period of “panic buying.”
In the four weeks after the peak panic buying period, plant-based food sales grew by 27 percent, as consumers sought out healthier eating options than they normally would. Plant-based food sales also grew 35-percent more quickly than total food sales in that period, the data show.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a continued shift in consumer purchasing toward natural and organic products that enhance health and immunity,” SPINS CEO and owner Tony Olson said.
While the impacts of the pandemic on consumer trends have yet to fully manifest themselves in all sectors, anecdotal evidence shows that olive oil sales in the U.S. have also been boosted by the pandemic.
“Demand for olive oil has increased recently,” Brady Whitlow, the president of Corto Olive, the second largest olive oil producer in the U.S., told Olive Oil Times. “We presume it is due to the increased demand at grocery stores due to the COVID-19 crisis.”
The U.S. is not the first country to experience a boost in olive oil sales as a result of COVID-19. Both Greece and Spain saw domestic olive oil sales grow at the beginning of the pandemic as well.
In its 2020 agri-food outlook report, the European Union also said that olive oil consumption in the trading bloc is expected to increase by 5.2 percent in the 2019/20 crop year, largely driven by panic buying at the beginning of 2020.