Is America Returning to Normal? The Proof Is in the Pudding

With a return to normal slowly becoming a reality, American’s shopping patterns are telling a unique story. It’s no secret that over the past year, everyone’s shopping habits changed drastically, but the biggest indicator that we are turning a corner comes from one place: pudding.

Instacart’s Pudding Pack Index is “an index for normalcy through the lens of groceries.” Apparently, typical lunchbox items that include pudding, fruit snacks and granola bars and how often they are being purchased serves as an indicator of just how “normal” things are. Keep reading to see how.

Instacart has broken the pandemic down into categories and compares how the sales of certain items coincided with normalcy.
  • April 2020: Sales for items in the index dropped 48% lower than pre-pandemic base levels.
  • Jun. 2020-Feb. 2021: Sales climbed to 20% below the pre-pandemic baseline
  • Mar.-Apr. 2021: The index climbed to the highest rate since the start of the pandemic.
  • May 2021: Index is just over 9% below the “normal” pre-pandemic rate.

The Pudding Pack Index serves as a barometer a return of normal, and we well on our way. “Parent or not — you should pay attention to the Pudding Pack Index,” says Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart’s Trends Expert and Senior Product Manager. “When parents are adding pudding packs to their cart, it means they’re also starting to head back to the office, drop their kids off at school, and take vacations. Parents represent a cross-section of American culture on every level and when life is normal for parents, it’s normal for almost everyone else, too.”

Pudding, anyone?

––Karly Wood

Feature photo: ToscaWhi via iStock



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Is America Returning to Normal? The Proof Is in the Pudding