On Thursday, Kraft Heinz (KHC 1.31%) confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed demand higher for many of its products as consumers spend more time at home. The prepared-food giant's organic sales, which strip out the impact of currency exchange-rate moves and acquisitions, jumped 6% in the fiscal first quarter, which included several weeks of social distancing efforts in the U.S. and other major economies.
That increase was a marked improvement from the 2% decline that Kraft noted in its previous quarterly filing.
Management estimated a 6% to 7% lift from pandemic shopping patterns that likely accounted for all of its sales gains this quarter. The company benefited from higher prices and a shift in demand toward more expensive food brands, too. "Our results reflect how strongly our employees have responded to the global COVID-19 challenge," CEO Miguel Patricio said in a press release.
Some of the spending spike can be attributed to stock-up behavior, which might pressure future results. However, Kraft is seeing persistently higher demand across its portfolio of food products today. That momentum has carried on into the second quarter, which is on track for organic growth in the low- to mid-single digits, executives said.