Foodstuffs

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

What do people buy following a crisis – a look at last week’s supermarket shelves in Kaikoura

As the Kaikoura community tries to get back to some semblance of normality following last week’s earthquakes the team at New World Kaikoura have gained an interesting insight into what customers buy in times of crisis.

Steve Anderson, CEO, Foodstuffs South Island Ltd 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 over 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,” adds Anderson. “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,” says Anderson. “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 BBQ’s. 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,” says Anderson.

“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.

While there was a marked absence of fresh grocery products such as milk, butter, cheese, fresh produce and meat, but thanks to a special helicopter delivery from Ewing Poultry, eggs were still on shelf throughout the week.

“I would personally like to thank Civil Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force who have worked tirelessly to assist us with ensuring the Kaikoura community has food, water and other essential items available at their local supermarket,” says Anderson.

Got a question about this page?