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Sales of Baking Supplies and Booze Skyrocket in the U.K.

Flour and alcohol are the great supermarket winners

Empty flour shelves at a supermarket during COVID-19
No flour for miles
Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

Cakes and ale, lockdown edition

As dimwitted good time Charlie Sir Toby Belch never told the then priggish Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “Dost thou think, because there is a pandemic, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” U.K. supermarket sales of baking ingredients, alcohol, and frozen vegetables rose again in the week to 5 April, according to market analysis by Information Resources (IRI) reported in the Guardian. Baking ingredients went up by 49 percent, while alcohol approached 14 percent; only canned meat and sausages could compete with the power of flour.

As no-one is drinking in restaurants and pubs, the alcohol spike is hardly a surprise, and while the days of large-scale supermarket buying are behind the country, news that restaurants and pubs are likely to be last to reopen may see these habits endure. More interesting still, will be whether weeks, or months of baking and new cooking, trying out a new process and honing it over time, will translate into ingrained habits and patterns of consumption when novel coronavirus’ impact on food systems comes into full focus. [Guardian]

And in other news...

  • The ultimate guide to eating at home — covering groceries of all kinds, delivery recommendations, cookbooks, streaming, and more. Do stay at home, but don’t stay at home without it.
  • Deliveroo, which like many high-growth companies runs perennial multi-million pound losses, says only Amazon’s millions can save it from COVID-19.
  • The restaurant industry is asking the government for a nine-month rent holiday to stay afloat.
  • Bakery / cafe chain Le Pain Quotidien could collapse, with 500 jobs under threat. [Sky News]
  • First Dates presenter and maitre’d Fred Sirieix has been widely criticised for his response to concerns about his BBC show The Restaurant That Burns Calories, and its proximity to encouraging disordered eating. Sirieix told BeatED, an eating disorder charity advising its users to avoid the programme for the sake of their health, that it was jumping on “an inexistant [sic] band wagon [sic]”. [Twitter]

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