Online recipe traffic spikes as people figure out how to cook

People around the country have been buying up an unprecedented amount of food, leaving the shelves of many grocery stores bare. And that means Americans are cooking more than usual. 

According to the New York Times, the company has seen a spike in traffic to its food section, something it often sees during global news events.

“Our editors have told me that they’re getting lots of emails and messages asking for recipes using pantry ingredients,” said the Times’s Jordan Cohen in an email. 

The New York Times’ cooking section will also soon see its paywall lift in response to the coronavirus crisis, according to a source at the paper.

The same trend of mega traffic has been noted at and Fexy, which owns recipe and cooking websites Serious Eats and Simply Recipes, as well as Relish, a recipe website that you can order ingredients from.

Conde Nast’s Bon Appétit, however, hasn’t noted any upticks. 

“We’re seeing over 50% increase in traffic on recipe pages as compared to what we saw on the same dates as last year, and a noticeable jump on the sites in the past week,” Cliff Sharples, co-CEO of Fexy wrote in an email. 

Sharples said the company had just finished a survey with its audience about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting consumer behavior, and found that 20% of the audience is considering trying online grocery shopping for the first time in the next 30 days.

At, where traffic is up 18% compared to last year at this time, the company said that the top trending article is “how to stock an emergency pantry.”

As restaurants closed in China this year to contain the coronavirus outbreak, millions of Chinese people, cooped up inside their homes, also discovered an interest in cooking, cooking shows and food content.

Though the country’s grocery supply chain remains strong, consumers aren’t taking any chances and have been stocking up, with endless anecdotal evidence of cleared supermarket shelves and long lines at stores like Trader Joe’s and Costco . Restaurants have also largely moved to take-out and delivery only. Some have closed, a move that Mohamed El-Erian says is a sign a recession is about to come.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, personal finance, retail, airlines, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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