In many cases, obliged to stay at home, people are turning to an old tradition of baking bread. The demand for ingredients has flour mills working overtime and creating slight shortages of ingredients like yeast and sugar. (Maggie MacPherson-CBC)

Back to the future: COVID-19 means people are baking again

After the panic buying of such things as toilet paper which created shortages in stores, there now seems to be shortages of things like flour and yeast.

While not in the category of panic buying, it appears that with many more people staying at home, they are finding they have a lot more time on their hands and are re-discovering the satisfaction of actually making their own bread and other baked goods.

Flour mills have seen a slow but steady decline in consumer demand over the past many years, but that has very suddenly reversed.

Stores are seeing sales of flour, yeast, sugar and other baking ingredients increase markedly, while flour mills and sugar processing operations are now working overtime to meet demands.

The same is true for yeast manufacturers such as AB Mauri, which has a large plant in the Montreal borough of LaSalle and another in the western city of Calgary. They produce the well-known brand of Fleischman’s Yeast as well as other baking products.

Online chefs and cookbook authors have also seen a great increase in visits to their websites. One Canadian cookbook author and creator of a recipe site says visits to the site have quadrupled in the last two weeks.

Google is seeing a huge increase in searches on ‘baking’ just since the beginning of March, when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic and movement restrictions first started to be announced.

Graph from Google Trends-search numbers related to ‘baking’


Besides being a slightly less expensive option for food, many people will says being creative such as baking your own bread helps to relieve stress and worry created by the pandemic. It gives people control over something in a time when control over their lives is reduced by external forces beyond their control.

For many, they find that working together in the kitchen is bringing families a little closer together. Plus of course the wonderful aroma of freshly baked items wafting through the home, is just so wonderful.

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