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Why Do People Eat So Much More Ice Cream During a Pandemic?

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Everyone at some point or another has been asked the age-old question, “What is your favourite ice cream flavour?” If your tastebuds are anything like the majority of Americans, your reply will likely be of the chocolate or vanilla variety, with more elaborate flavours like butter pecan, mint chocolate chip and cookie dough creeping up behind the top two classics.

The coronavirus pandemic has been sweeping across North America since the early months of 2020, creating a dramatic shift in the way that people have been consuming their favourite frozen flavours. Whether you’re a chocoholic, have a sweet spot for vanilla’s simple pleasures, or are a little bit more adventurous when it comes to the sweet snack, it’s clear that we’ve all been indulging a little more than we used to and we’re going to break down a few reasons why!

Eating Your Feelings

You know that scene from the movies – the one where the high school sweethearts break up and one of them spends the next few days in front of the television with a box of tissues and a collection of snacks ranging from a large, cheesy pizza to a pint of ice cream and a spoon. Based on research, the pandemic has had somewhat of the same effect on people and we’re going to tell you why!

Snacking has been proven to subdue negative emotions like anger, anxiety, boredom and loneliness – all emotions that the pandemic has stirred up at one point or another. Everyone copes with stressful situations differently and how you respond to the stress and anxiety of the pandemic can depend on your health, support system, mental and physical health, and your community.

Have you noticed that your healthy eating habits have gone out the window? With children being home and home offices becoming the new norm, families are spending more (all) of their time together. Along with the disruptions to your regular routine comes the uncertainty of the pandemic and what’s going to happen next. Spending most – if not all – of your time at home will undoubtedly affect your daily routine, causing an increase in anxiety and healthy eating habits that were previously prioritized.

Like some of life’s most common stressors – relationship conflicts, work, fatigue, financial pressures, and health problems – the pandemic has brought with it a wave of emotion and inconveniences. Not to worry, you can get back on track! Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal and healthy to indulge on your favourite frozen treats from time to time, but there are a few ways to control cravings when the negative emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating:

  • Keep a food diary or try using a food tracking app to keep yourself accountable.
  • Get your stress under control – try yoga, meditating or deep breathing.
  • Are you actually hungry? Confirm if your hunger is emotional or physical.
  • Get support – look to your family and friends for support during this time!
  • Fight boredom – distract yourself with a hobby, your favourite movie, or a friendly conversation
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to indulge occasionally!

Snack Attacks

Everybody loves snacks. Whether those snacks fall in the healthier category which includes fruits and nuts or they’re more on the sweet and savoury side like ice cream and potato chips, about one third of Americans report that they are snacking more often since the start of the pandemic.

According to research, snacking habits differ noticeably with age. 41% of people under 35 reported snacking more than normal, while only 26% of those aged 50 and older claimed to be indulging more frequently. Parents have also seemingly fallen into the snack attacks, with 41% of adults with children under 18 eating to relieve stress compared to 20% of adults without children.

Cooking at home has also created a shift in how people are consuming their meals – and the appetizers and desserts that accompany them. In fact, about 60% of people are cooking at home more out of necessity. This means that generally fewer calories, carbohydrates, and dangerous fats are being consumed. Not only is this helping to save money that would have formerly been spent on dining out, but it also means that you’re more inclined and feel less guilty about reaching for a bowl of your favourite ice cream to wrap up a meal.

In-Store Shopping vs. Online Shopping

Online shopping, as popular as it was before the pandemic, has completely transformed the way that consumers are purchasing goods. From fast food delivery to groceries to home renovation materials, ecommerce by the way of apps and websites has created a platform for shoppers to safely purchase their wants and needs without ever having to leave their homes and it’s a change that we’re going to see stick around for some time.

When coronavirus lockdowns began and precautions were instituted, total retail sales fell drastically. The same didn’t hold true for ecommerce sales. In a report by Statistics Canada, ecommerce sales reportedly surged 99.3% in the months from February to May and was responsible for more than $3.9 billion in sales during the month of May – a record breaking statistic. 

Grocery shopping is habitual – we have a list, we know our favourite brands, we add to cart, and we check out – so the way that people are shopping online and in-store is quite different. Ecommerce shoppers tend to be less adventurous when it comes to trying new products and have found to make fewer impulsive purchases. Interactive store displays and marketing are influential in helping people try new products and engage with new brands – this is more difficult with ecommerce, especially in a sector so overcrowded with products. According to data in the U.S. Snack Index consumers largely prefer in-person shopping, with 74% of those surveyed saying that in-store is where they look first for their favourite snacks.

There have been noticeable shifts in consumer purchasing patterns since the beginning of the pandemic. In the earlier days of ecommerce grocery shopping, carts were filled with cleaning products and toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitizers. Then there was a shift to non-perishable food items like soup, pasta and rice, and most recently there’s been a shift to more comfort foods and meal preparation foods like frozen pizza, ice cream and cookies. As the pandemic rolled in and people were encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing, one personal hygiene item has been moving off of the shelves at a much slower rate – deodorant

There’s no question that online grocery orders have increased over recent months, whether consumers opt for pick-up or delivery of their products, but what’s interesting is the large number of people who are trying these services for the first time and whether or not it’s a habit they will continue to find useful once coronavirus restrictions are lifted and life goes back to “normal”.

“Historically, if you looked at ecommerce it skewed a bit younger, but with COVID-19 the Boomer generation is one of the fastest growing segments of shoppers that is shopping online,” said Colin Stewart, Acosta’s executive vice president of business intelligence.

With the acceleration of ecommerce sales, retailers have had to adjust to the sudden increase in demand for online grocery shopping, which meant hiring additional employees, implementing new policies, increasing resources, and more. Logistically, retailers have had to pivot almost immediately to provide this service and do it in a way that would keep their new ecommerce customers coming back.

Some of Your Favourite Frozen Treats From Across the Country (United States)

As we continue to practice social distancing, leave our homes less, and avoid unnecessary trips wherever possible, it’s important to support your favourite scoop shops and ice cream brands during these difficult times. The businesses listed below have adapted their retail stores to be safer, implemented delivery programs, and hired additional staff in order to continue offering their products and they rely on us to keep churning out the delicious treats we all know and love!

? House of Flavours

402 W Ludington Ave, Ludington, Michigan 49431

284 River St, Manistee, Michigan 49660


? Alec’s Ice Cream

88 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, California 92651


? Arctic Buzz Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Arctic Zero

Find a location HERE


? Barts Ice Cream

80 School St, Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301


? Bassetts Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Beckon Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Blue Moon Sorbet

Find a location HERE


? Bootleg Creamery

Find a location HERE


? Brother’s Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Cado Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Carmela Ice Cream

2495 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, California 91104


? Casper’s Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Cold Fusion Gelato

19 Walpole Park South, Walpole, Massachusetts 02081


? Coolhaus Awesome Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Coney Island Creamery

Find a location HERE


? Dave’s Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Double Rainbow

Find a location HERE


? Gelatiamo

1400 Third Ave, Seattle, Washington 98101


? Giovanna Gelato

Find a location HERE


? Hakuna Banana

Find a location HERE


? Iorio’s Gelato

522 E. William Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


? Island Homemade Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Jane’s Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Find a location HERE


? Johnson’s Real Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Lappert’s Hawaii

Find a location HERE


? Lopez Island Creamery

Find a location HERE


? Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery

Find a location HERE


? Museum of Ice Cream

1 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California 94108

558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012


? Negranti Creamery

2989 Limestone Way,Paso Robles, CA 93446


? Oddfellows Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Olympic Mountain Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Oregon Ice Cream Company

885 Grant St., Eugene, Oregon 97402

4600 NW Camas Meadows Dr. Suite 100, Camas, Washington 98607


? Rebel Creamery

Find a location HERE


? Roselani Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Shaker Pond Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Sweet Republic Artisan Ice Cream

9160 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260

6054 N 16th St, Phoenix, Arizona 85016


? Sweet Scoops

325 West Market St, Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania 17961


? Tillamook Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Villa Dolce Gelato

2425 W. Utopia Road, Phoenix, AZ 85027


? Warwick Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


Some of Your Favourite Frozen Treats From Across the Country (Canada)

? Abe’s Ice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Bang Bang Ice Cream

93A Ossington Ave, Toronto, Ontario M6J 2Z2


? Booyah Inc.

16 Vaughan Rd A, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2N1


? Central Smith Ice Cream

739 Lindsay Rd, Selwyn, Ontario K9J 0C5


? Chimp Treats Nice Cream

Find a location HERE


? Crèmerie Swirl

230 Rachel E, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1E3


? Da Vinci Gelato

Find a location HERE


? Dandy’s Artisan Ice Cream

4570 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 6B4


? Death in Venice Gelato

1418 Dundas St. W, Toronto, Ontario M6J 1Y5


? Foothills Creamery

2825 Bonnybrook Road SE, Calgary, AB, T2G 4N1

9350 48 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6B 2R3

1369 Stevens Rd #12, West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2S9


? Four All Ice Cream

75 King St. S, Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P2


? Happy Cow Handcrafted Ice Cream

561B HWY-3, Fernie, British Columbia V0B 1M0

535 Victoria Ave N #307, Cranbrook, British Columbia V1C”

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