24/7 Tempo used the data from two studies by the coupon-tracking site Coupon Follow and Nielsen to assemble a list of 10 food items and 10 health or household products that were among the top purchases people made in anticipation of a pandemic lockdown.
Eggs and toilet paper (see below) tied for increased popularity in Coupon Follow's survey, with 63% of respondents saying they had purchased both, and 37% saying they had bought more eggs than usual.
Coupon Follow doesn't specify what categories "milk" includes in ranking it as the third most often-bought item, but Time reports a 245% increase in the purchase of powdered milk products over the previous year and an astonishing 477% rise in sales of oat milk.
Food: Fresh meat alternatives
While they don't show up on Coupon Follow's list, plant-based "meats" from companies like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Tofurky, and Dr. Praeger's are enjoying dramatic upticks in sales.
Food: Pasta and rice
Pasta appealed to 59% of the Coupon Follow respondents, with 54% saying they had bought more than usual.
Food: Dried beans
Economical, easy to store, and full of protein and numerous important nutrients, beans showed the fourth-largest sales increase of any food product in the Nielsen survey reported by Time.
One of the first things people noticed at the market after the pandemic hit was that the refrigerated chicken cases were empty or only sparsely filled.
Food: Canned meat
Meats in tins, such as corned beef, Vienna sausages, cured ham, roast beef hash, and Spam may not be as popular with pandemic preppers as meat alternatives, but they showed a 188% increase in sales over last year.
Food: Frozen vegetables
Some 52% of respondents to the Coupon Follow survey said they had bought veggies from the freezer case – 39% more than usual.
Food: Fresh vegetables
Despite the convenience (and often lower cost) of frozen vegetables, half the consumers contacted by Coupon Follow reported that they'd bought fresh ones in preparation for a lockdown.
Half the respondents to Coupon Follow also reported having stocked up on water, buying 52% more than they usually would.
Health/household: Toilet paper
According to Coupon Follow, it was the most often-bought non-food item (63% of survey respondents picked some up) and showed the second-highest jump in quantity purchases at 56% (rice, lentils, and/or beans combined hit 57%).
Health/household: Disinfectant sprays and wipes
The reason for the jump in sales for these items is obvious, which is why consumers bought a stunning 519% more aerosol disinfectants this year than last, according to Time.
After aerosol (spray) disinfectants, says the Nielsen report cited by Time, the category that saw the most dramatic year-over-year jump in pandemic-related sales was thermometers.
Health/household: Paper towels
Citing the Nielsen report, Time notes that sales of these common paper products rose 154% this March compared with last year, and Coupon Follow records them as the second most popular non-food item purchased by consumers as the pandemic hit.
Health/household: Hand sanitizer
Coupon Follow found that respondents to its survey bought 54% more hand sanitizer in preparation for the pandemic than they would ordinarily.
Health/household: Rubbing alcohol
Sales of rubbing alcohol rose 277% in mid-March over the same period in 2019, reports Time.
Health/household: Hydrogen peroxide
According to the CDC, "Commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate surfaces."
Health/household: Cold and flu remedies
These over-the-counter medicines saw a 159% growth in sales between March of last year and this March, according to Nielsen.
Those surveyed by Coupon Follow bought 32% more soap than usual with the pandemic in mind, and Time reports a 183% increase in soap sales this March over last.
Health/household: Face masks and/or gloves
Coupon Follow notes that 30% of the consumers it polled bought masks and/or gloves, in quantities amounting to 47% more than usual.