May 22, 2020 - Economy

Spam sales skyrocket as people stock up during the pandemic

Source: Company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sales of Hormel products — including Skippy peanut butter and Spam — to groceries skyrocketed, thanks to food stockpiling and the quarantine diet.

Why it matters: Some companies are seeing business collapse as Americans lock down, while others are getting a lift as people shelter in place.

  • "Early on in the crisis, there was this view that it was all just stocking up or pantry loadings," but there's sustained demand for the products, Hormel CEO Jim Snee told investors on Thursday.
  • Snee also said longer shelf-life items "are as important to consumers as they've ever been" with millions of Americans out of work.

The big picture: Bigger parts of Hormel's business are being slammed. Demand for its food-service business, where it distributes products to restaurants, hotels and school cafeterias, has plummeted.

  • Costs of safety measures at plants, higher plant worker pay and more supply chain expenses cut into profits.
  • And late last month, it closed three turkey processing plants in Minnesota when several workers tested positive for coronavirus, as the Star Tribune reports.
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