Tuesday, June 25, 2024

What do people buy following a crisis?

Following the earthquakes in New Zealand last week, the team at New World Kaikoura have gained an interesting insight into what customers buy in times of crisis. 

Foodstuffs South Island CEO Steve Anderson says while you’d expect water to be top of the list of must buys post-quake, it turns out the most sought after items are sweet, with more than 3,400 packets of lollies and chocolates sold in the first seven days post-earthquake.

“Water comes in second equal with biscuits, with both reaching approximately 3,200 units sold,” he said. “We saw similar trends following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. When people are faced with challenging conditions and a lack of power and amenities the types of food they are looking for, other than water, is high in energy, easy to carry, and requires zero preparation. This also explains why, in the last seven days, New World Kaikoura sold over 2,400 bags of potato chips.

“After the Christchurch earthquake demand for beer and wine was strong due to the fact Cantabrians needed to restock their damaged liquor cabinets. Also, following such a high stress event the odd beer with friends and family is a good way to relax and find a bit normalcy,” Mr Anderson said. “Beer sales have been strong in Kaikoura post-quake, but due to damaged stock and supply shortages wine sales are currently down.”

Demand for instant meals naturally increased sharply following Sunday night’s earthquake, in part potentially due to the lack of power and restricted access to houses, with many people cooking with gas perhaps on their BBQs. This meant the need for ‘one-pot’ meals that were quick and easy to prepare was critical. Sales of instant noodles, canned meals, packet and canned soups came in at around 2,400 units sold in Kaikoura.

“Canned vegetables were a necessity last week and in total, around 2,200 cans of baked beans, spaghetti, peas and other veg were sold by our New World Kaikoura store,” Mr Anderson said.

“The need for caffeine was high with sales of coffee outstripping tea by two to one,” continues Anderson. “And the sale of shelf-stable milk products jumped up with over 1,300 canned and long life milk products sold over the course of the week.”

Customers’ pets were not forgotten, with over 1,600 units of pet food sold throughout the week.

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