These Foods Are Making A Comeback Because Of COVID-19

While families have been hunkering down in their homes the past few months, waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, they have rediscovered their kitchens. In fact, so many people took up baking that stores ran out of flour. Spending hours cooking from scratch in the kitchen became a reassuring (and tasty) form of entertainment at a time when dining out was not an option (via Vox). While it may be true that Millennials typically don't spend a ton of time cooking at home (via Well+Good), even college students "cooked up a healthy storm" after leaving campus under quarantine orders, a University of Vermont professor told The New York Times

College students deserve a thumbs-up for doing some cooking in March, but the sales numbers from the big processed-food companies tell a different story. Snack-food giant Mondelez, makers of Oreos, Ritz, and Chips Ahoy cookies reported a 30 percent increase in cracker and cookie sales around the same time. These weren't just due to hoarding, either. Sales of processed, prepackaged foods such as frozen waffles, breakfast cereal, and Campbell's soup continued to see double-digit sales growth in April and May, The New York Times reported.

Is there a healthy way to eat junk food?

The home kitchen is not merely replacing the restaurant kitchen after all. As it turns out, when we shelter in our homes, our kitchens are basically one big "vending machine," The New York Times said. And some people are stocking their kitchens to dispense treats they've never tried before. Booming sales of Nutter Butter cookies and Fig Newtons — two other Mondelez products — are due in large part to first-time buyers. So despite a trend among Millennials to prefer healthy, whole foods (via USA Today), the pandemic suggests the comfort and convenience of processed snack food has a very strong appeal.

The big snack-food makers aren't ignoring Millennials' health consciousness, either. The maker of Oreos released a video on "mindful snacking," with tips on portion control and eating more slowly. That advice, though, may be too radical for some snackers. The video recommends downing just three Oreo cookies (one serving size) at one sitting, in several small bites. It's a far cry from the Lay's potato chip "Betcha can't eat just one" ads from a few decades ago.