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PRESERVATION

The Covid-19 pandemic has made canned foods, shelf-stable milk, and vodka seem better

A woman scans the prices on cans of soup into a cash register
AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey
Cans are in.
  • David Yanofsky
By David Yanofsky

Editor of code, visuals, and data

Last week we asked you to help determine which groceries were best to buy during the coronavirus shutdown. Now, we know.

Which groceries are good to have during the coronavirus shutdown?

Generally, our readers’ thoughts on groceries haven’t changed much during the pandemic. Items rated “generally good to have” were also rated as “good to have during the pandemic.” That’s why the dots mostly run from the bottom left to top right.

The best things to have for the pandemic are eggs, olive oil, and rice. Those are all things that our readers say are also usually good during non-pandemic times.

Which groceries have gotten better because of the coronavirus shutdown?

However, some items deviated more than others. Here’s the same data but instead of plotting the raw score for the pandemic, we charted the difference between the pandemic score and the everyday score.

As you might expect, canned foods—whether it be fruits, vegetables, fish, or SPAM—outperformed their normal-times scores. Fruits and berries were rated much lower for during the pandemic than for other times. On the junk food and candy front, jelly beans, gummy bears, Doritos, and Cheetos are all typically viewed the same. For the pandemic our readers view the more savory Doritos and Cheetos slightly more favorably. Jelly beans and gummy bears are viewed less favorably than non-pandemic times.

As for alcohol, boxed wine saw the biggest boost in virus times. Vodka also outperformed its normal-times score. Beer and whiskey, on the other hand, were rated lower under the pandemic conditions.

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