Sales of gravy and crumpets soar as British ex-pats seek home comforts to get them through coronavirus lockdown

Caroline Allen
British ex-pats are missing home comforts. (Getty Images)

Sales of British home comforts - like gravy, crumpets and chocolate - are on the up as ex-pats crave these nostalgic foods during the coronavirus lockdown.

With British people unable to travel home during the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that many are buying foods reminiscent of their home country.

The data comes from British Corner Shop, which mails sought-after food to homesick Britons.

Heinz baked beans and Warburtons crumpets were the most popular foods sold between 1 February and 20 April, almost a month of which was in lockdown.

People are eager to get hold of their home comforts. (SWNS)
Boxes being delivered to locations around the world. (SWNS)

Beans have also seen a 44% increase in sales from this time last year as people crave beans on toast in lieu of being able to go home and see their loved ones.

Read more: What makes us proud to be British during coronavirus pandemic

There has already been a number of new entries on the “most-shipped” items list as well.

Unsurprisingly, antibacterial hand gel and Dettol antiseptic spray which has shot up by a staggering 2,569% compared to this time last year.

Plain flour, which has been notoriously hard to come by as more and more people opt to spend their time in lockdown baking, has also seen a 1,572% increase year on year.

Mark Callaghan, managing director at British Corner Shop, said: “With current events, it’s no surprise to see items like antibacterial spray and hand gel ramp up in popularity.

“But in terms of the top 10 of sales from this year to last, we have seen a real increase in the comfort foods which remind people of home – even from those who are living within the UK.

“We’ve also seen an increase in the number of customers in the UK and abroad who are sending care packages containing products like chocolate, soup and crumpets to loved ones in isolation.

“This proves that food is not only a huge comfort during a crisis, but people believe sending it is a great way to show you care and stay connected.”

Read more: American magazine calls sausage rolls ‘pigs in blankets’

There also seems to be a pattern in what type of lockdown foods people are craving dependent on where they are in the world.

Ex-pats in China and Australia are most keen to import baby formula. British people in Australia are also craving Yorkshire Tea bags, which came second on the list.

In America, the comfort food of choice errs more towards the indulgent. Walker’s prawn cocktail crisps and McVities Jaffa Cakes are the order of the day.

And in Italy? British people are favouring Branston Pickle and McVities Ginger Nuts.

Read more: One in five under 30s have never had a fry-up

The top sellers list:

1. Heinz Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (up by 44 per cent)
2. Warburtons Crumpets 6 Pack (up by 55 per cent)
3. Cadbury Creme Egg (up by 127 per cent)
4. Pause & Refresh Antibacterial Lemon Hand Gel (Didn’t sell it in 2019)
5. McDougalls Plain Flour (up by 14,201 per cent)
6. Bisto Gravy Granules (up by 122 per cent)
7. Dettol Antiseptic (up by 2,569 per cent)
8. Hipp Organic First Infant Milk Ready to Use (up by 5,396 per cent)
9. McDougalls Self Raising Flour (up by 2,615 per cent)
10. Cadburys Flake 4 Pack (up by 217 per cent)