The Real Reason Snack Sales Are Up Isn't Hoarding

For the sixth straight week, snack sales are up for Mondelez, the company that owns brands like Ritz crackers and Oreo cookies. The company originally thought that the initial boost in sales was due to Americans stocking up their pantries for quarantine during the novel coronavirus pandemic, as while many people have stocked up with ingredients to prepare full meals, Americans are also piling up on snack foods rather than healthy foods (via CNBC). 

Instead of hoarding Oreos, Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put explained that people simply have to be eating their snack reserves of cookies and crackers — unless they are really building storage facilities for these tasty comfort foods. He reported that the company saw 6.4 percent organic growth in the first quarter of the year, which is surprisingly high. Other numbers showed a weekly increase of 30 percent. The growth is expected to result in $6.61 to $6.71 billion in revenue for the company this year.

Snack foods are comforting during uncertain times

While the future is still uncertain for the company, Van de Put still believes they could see growth, especially in Asia where countries largely reacted to the pandemic earlier and are reopening. He also explained why he believes snack sales are up, and it isn't just hoarding the food. People are eating at home more and they are seeking comfort in uncertain times.

"A lot of the out-of-home eating has now gone in home, and that leads to more snacking ... the second thing is that sharing a snack with your family, with your kids brings a feeling of comfort," Van de Put said.

People are drawn to comfort foods as a way to belong and participate in social gatherings, which can explain why families might be sharing in their favorite snacks these days. Snack foods are also a way to make ourselves feel good and are a way to self-medicate because the salt and sugar feeds the reward system in our brains (via Psychology Today).

So, if you find yourself and your family reaching for the box a little more often these days, it's not unusual at all.