Apr 26, 2020 - Economy

Americans seek comfort from garden to kitchen during coronavirus pandemic

A person picking up flowers from a garden center.

A woman picks up flowers from a garden center in Long Beach, California. Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak has driven a surge in cooking, baking and gardening across the United States, as most Americans are mandated to remain at home except to get essentials.

The big picture: The renewed interest in food and cooking during the pandemic may extend beyond the need to eat. Daily creative projects can help reduce stress and promote well-being, according to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

  • 90% of Americans are concerned about the coronavirus, according to an Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
  • 37% of Americans surveyed said their emotional health had declined as of mid-April.

The state of play: Baking yeast sales surged by 647% for the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • King Arthur Flour’s website had sold out of yeast and a number of flours by the end of March, but planned to restock within days, the company said. And March was the company's busiest social messaging month, it told the Washington Post. The company received 22,000 messages in the first three months of 2020, more than double the messages it had received in all of 2019.
  • Seed companies have also reported significant sales spikes as consumers turn to gardening, according to Politico.

Flashback: The number of households that grew their own food blossomed from 36 million to 42 million between 2008 and 2013, largely because of economic uncertainty triggered by the Great Recession, according to a National Gardening Association report.

Go deeper: Virus vices take a toll on Americans

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