Coronavirus Panic Has Oat Milk Outselling Hand Sanitizer

The Coronavirus Scare Has Americans Stockpiling Oat Milk

Concerns over the coronavirus have Americans stockpiling oat milk along with household and medical essentials for their “pandemic pantries.” U.S. consumers are rushing to buy medical, health-related, and shelf-stable products—including oat milk.

As concerns grow that the coronavirus (COVID-19) could turn into a worldwide pandemic, stockpiling is on the rise. According to Nielsen data, first aid kits, medical and household masks, hand sanitizer, and disposable diapers are all common purchases.

During a four week period ending February 22nd, significant spikes in the hoarding of emergency supplies occurred in the U.S., China, and Italy. The market research firm also revealed that U.S. oat milk sales increased by nearly 306 percent in response to the coronavirus. This is greater than the increased demand for hand sanitizer and just short of medical masks at 319 percent.

According to Nielsen, the U.S. will require more masks than are available. This sudden change in purchasing habits is impacting production, and Nielsen notes the pressure this may put on supply chains. Back in 2018, an oat milk shortage prompted some people to sell Oatly’s Barista Edition for up to $200. Some of the in-demand hygiene products are now selling online for inflated prices.

The market research firm is also monitoring the impact of the virus on e-commerce. It noted that online shopping could increase in the coming weeks in response to self-isolation and quarantine procedures. “We expect the rush to stock up to have an almost immediate impact on supply chains for manufacturers of the most sought-after goods,” said Nielsen.

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China has banned the sale and consumption of wild animal meat.

The Coronavirus and Meat

According to the New York Times, Covid-19 has now killed more than 4,000 people worldwide. Experts believe it may have originated from China’s wild animal trade and the city of Wuhan. Some of the first recorded infections are believed to have come from the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Over 75 percent of the 3,136 deaths recorded in China so far were in the provincial capital.

Trading and consuming wild animal meat in China is now banned. Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market legally sold animals such as bats, snakes, and civets. Scientists speculate that an infected person, a group of infected animals, or even a single animal first introduced the virus to the Wuhan market.