Have you ever eaten a meal with a four-year-old? If so, chances are pretty high that they had chicken nuggets. Have you ever been trapped in a small space with a four-year-old for three months? If so, chances are pretty high that they ate a WHOLE LOT of said chicken nuggets (from the freezer). And they weren’t alone.

During the recent period of Home-Confined Buying (March 22 to date, with our latest measure taken on June 7), households spent an average of 59% more on frozen breaded chicken than they did during the same period in 2019. And during a period of Preparedness Buying from February 24 – March 10, sales increased for this category more than any other fresh or frozen meat. Which is not really a surprise, because no one wants to be trying to work with a hangry toddler who only eats one food that is out of stock.

In all seriousness, the amount Americans are spending on meat has increased substantially over the last four months. And poultry has been the clear winner in the U.S. While sales of frozen meat did see slightly higher purchasing increases during the Extreme Buying Phase, this category settled in behind frozen (breaded and unbreaded) chicken in growth rates for the period following.

To see how meat category sales changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, check out the chart below.

Percent change in average daily meat spending: buying period vs. same time last year. Top five subcategories are frozen poultry, frozen breaded chicken, fresh meat, frozen meat, and shelf-stable meat.