Rice, tissues and toilet paper: What the Netherlands hoarded during coronavirus

Rice, tissues and toilet paper: What the Netherlands hoarded during coronavirus

Cast your minds back to this time last year, as people around the world rushed to their local supermarket and bought just about everything they could get their hands on. Shelves were empty, and toilet paper was extremely hard to come by. Sign language interpreter Irma Sluis went viral for her signing of the word hamsteren - Dutch for hoarding - at one of the government’s first coronavirus press conferences. 

Luckily, the people of the Netherlands got over their need to hoard groceries quite a while ago. But which items and brands have proven the most popular throughout coronavirus? Which items did the Netherlands horde the most?

Rice and pasta proved particularly popular

Market research company IRI and Foodmagazine have put together a list of the 10 most popular items from March 2020 - when the Netherlands first went into lockdown. Unsurprisingly, rice, pasta, and toilet paper all nabbed a spot in the top five, and various other non-perishables made it into the top 10.

Product Profit increase in March 2020
Rice 180,1%
Pasta  175,1%
Tinned fish 148,1%
Canned vegetables 146,7%
Toilet paper 130,3%
Toilettries (incl. soap) 129%
Long-life milk 125,2%
Preserved meats 123,2%
Tissues 122,7%
Long-life bread 113,8%

The Netherlands favoured premium brands over private labels

Researches also found that premium brands saw their profits rise significantly in 2020, with the turnover of the 100 largest brands in the Netherlands increasing by 10,7 percent over the past 12 months. Due to the demand for cupboard food as well as toiletries, brands such as Page, Edet, Grand Italia, Aviko, Unox, Hak, Bonduelle, and John West saw their profits rise significantly. 

Coffee brands such as Starbucks, Nescafé, and Douwe Egberts also saw their sales skyrocket, and the baking obsession that arose last spring meant that brands like Dr Oetker and Koopmans also experienced a successful year. According to IRI researchers, shoppers reached for premium brands more because of their comparatively longer shelf-life.

On the other hand, some premium brands saw their sales drop thanks to coronavirus. Amstel beer didn’t have a particularly good year, and neither did Mentos or Duyvis, who specialise in chewing gum and snack mixes respectively. IRI also found that shoppers were less likely to succumb to their impulses when shopping, taking more time to think about what they really need.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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