We're turning to our spice cabinets now more than ever as we up our home cooking and baking games amid the backdrop of a pandemic. Whether you're stocking up on your very first collection of seasonings and spices or restocking tried-and-true flavors you've been using for years, the demand is undeniable. National consumption of spices, seasonings, rubs, and marinades was up over 50% in July 2020 compared to the prior year, according to data from the NPD Group.
The year has been a rollercoaster of high demand and sales losses for spice companies as they cater to two very different areas of business. While most companies report food service sales, or sales to restaurants, have been slim to none, others like McCormick have seen major growth in their consumer sales. In fact, the largest spice producer in the U.S. reported a 26% year-over-year increase in sales to consumers this spring. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
The company has had to ramp up its production capabilities overnight after shortages of some of its products began in the spring. McCormick transitioned its factories to a 24-hour operation cycle and onboarded third-party manufacturers, an increase in manpower which will add up to an "equivalent of an additional plant of U.S. manufacturing" by the end of the year, according to CEO Lawrence Kurzius.
The Washington Post reported on market data which highlights the spice maker's particular areas of growth. Over the summer, McCormick had seen a nearly 16% increase in the sales of dry recipe mixes, nearly 10% for mustard, 44% for hot wing sauce, and 35% for barbecue sauces, the data shows.
Furthermore, the company reportedly predicts an even busier holiday season than usual, with products like cinnamon, garlic, pumpkin pie spice, sage, and vanilla seeing a particular uptick in demand. While it's taken the necessary steps to greet the holiday season with fully-stocked shelves, these may be the products you'll have a harder time finding in grocery stores.
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