Food and non-food stockpiling in the Netherlands due to coronavirus 2020

Hand soap sales in week nine, 2020, tripled compared to an average week in 2019, and sales figures for paper tissues almost doubled. Preservable food products were also popular, with total preserves sales enjoying a volume boost of 35.1 percent. Dutch consumers were especially hungry for dried beans and rice, as they increased purchases by 79 and 46 percent, respectively.

Preserves as pandemic inventory

Purchasing highly conservable food products and hygiene or cleaning products in bulk is a common practice in 2020. As consumers anticipate either self-isolation or a lack of supplies in supermarkets, hoarding food and hygiene products functions to restock the “pandemic pantry”. Food products such as rice, pasta and canned goods all had a spike in sales because they can be bought in bulk and have a long shelf life. On the other hand, non-food products such as wipes and hand soap are disinfectants, explaining their increased demand.

COVID-19 in the Netherlands

The first Dutch COVID-19 case was recorded on February 27th. This coincides with the sales increase in week nine of food and non-food products. Whereas the fear of being infected by the virus stimulates sales of hygiene products, the apprehension of a lockdown of society likely causes consumers to stock up on food supplies. The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases kept rising in March 2020. As of March 31st, further reports have been published regarding sales figures of food and non-food supermarket products in the Netherlands. For instance, data reports from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show that the stockpiling of food preserves only intensified after week nine, with products such as rice and pasta doubling their turnover figures in week 11. However, these data cannot be compared directly to the present data as collected by Nielsen, because of a difference in data collection methodology.

Sales volume change of food and non-food products compared to an average week in 2019 in the Netherlands in week 9 of 2020

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

Week 9, 2020

Supplementary notes

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.

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