History can be defined in many ways. It can be defined by the political climate. The clothes we wore. The vehicles we traveled in.

Often, we define history by the food we ate. The 1930s were known for mac ‘n cheese and canned meat. In the 40s, iconic cold cereal and cake mix brands were born. The 1970s brought boxed dinners to combat soaring meat prices and if you grew up in the 80s, you definitely ate toaster pastries and ramen. Signature foods of the 1990s include canned pasta dinners, artificially flavored salty snacks, and all things neon.

In times of high stress, humans are known to turn to food for comfort. Sometimes, comfort food looks like homemade meatballs with Sunday sauce or a big slice of Grandma’s chocolate cake. And sometimes, people are most comforted by memories of simpler times from the past. Times when Mom threw dinner in the microwave and the family ate while enjoying an episode of The Brady Bunch. Times when you ran in the door after school, dropped your backpack and opened a new bag of chips. Times when you were first allowed to cook something easy for yourself on the stovetop.

The current crisis is no different…Americans are turning to food to find comfort. Over the past several weeks, shelf-stable foods that have long been on the decline have seen a major growth in demand.

Check out how we’ve been buying some popular nostalgic comfort food categories, compared to the same time period last year.

Have you picked up anything from your childhood, long thought forgotten, at the store recently?

Average daily CPG category rank, by dollar sales from 3/29/20 to 4/4/20. The top five CPG items are cold cereal, boxed prepared dinners, prepared foods, frozen appetizers, and frozen sandwiches.