These Are the 15 Items Most Americans Stocked Up on Pre-Quarantine

Beyond disinfectant wipes and soap, of course.

More than 90 percent of Americans are now under stay-at-home orders through at least April 30 and are urged to only go out for essential trips (say, to the pharmacy or to restock on must-have groceries).

To reduce trips out in public—and our interactions with others—most of us stocked up on two or more weeks of groceries in early March. We know the "why" behind the substantial shopping hauls, and now, thanks to new Nielsen data, we're learning more about the "what." We can't be the only ones who try to subtly peek in other shoppers' carts, right?!

empty grocery cart in a grocery store aisle
Getty/ Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd.

The Top 15 Foods and Drinks Americans Stocked Up on Pre-Quarantine

According to year-over-year data for the first two weeks in March, Americans understandably snagged loads of aerosol disinfectants, thermometers, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and tissues. And on the food front, the biggest jumps appeared in shelf-stable products and comfort food snacks. Comparing 2019 to 2020 shopping patterns during the same timespan, these food categories showed the most growth:

  1. Oat milk
  2. Plant-based meat alternatives like the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger (likely because of general trend growth, rather than stockpiles, but notable nonetheless)
  3. Powdered milk
  4. Beans
  5. Canned meat
  6. Rice
  7. Tuna
  8. Soup
  9. Chicken
  10. Popcorn
  11. Pretzels
  12. Eggs
  13. Potato chips
  14. Pastries
  15. Ice cream

Several meal-starters (plus a few indulgences) made the list. Many of the items are pretty healthy, though we'd add these 14 long-lasting fresh fruits and vegetables to our grocery list for some variety.

What weren't we buying to sustain our shelter-in-place lifestyle? Perfume, sunscreen and vegetable party platters. These items were all on the decline, which makes sense since we're (probably) not getting dressed up, going on vacation or entertaining large crowds.

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