BBJ: McCormick sees ‘unprecedented surge in demand’ as consumers load up their pantries

By Holden Wilen
March 31, 2020

McCormick & Co. Inc. could end up being one of the long-term beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced people to stay at home and cook more often.

Like pretty much every company right now, Hunt Valley-based McCormick is trying to navigate through the chaos caused by the novel coronavirus. The spice maker’s profit and sales both took a hit in the first quarter that ended Feb. 29, due to the impact of the virus in China.

McCormick executives held off on making predictions about the company’s financial performance for the rest of 2020 because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. However, they said consumer sales in the U.S. have soared during the last couple weeks as people have loaded up their pantries with spices and seasonings.

CEO Lawrence Kurzius said Tuesday the company is experiencing an “unprecedented surge in demand.” The grocery stores and supermarkets McCormick serves are scrambling to keep their shelves stocked.

Based on point-of-sale scanner data McCormick has received, sales for all U.S. products in the week that ended March 15 grew 65%, with all major categories up double or triple digits, Kurzius said. Last week, the scanner data showed sales grew even faster — more than 89%.

While he does expect consumption to continue “at this extraordinary level,” Kurzius said McCormick can sustain growth from more people cooking at home. He said more consumers than ever are looking up recipes and watching how-to videos on McCormick’s website and social media pages.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal