Frozen pizza pocket maker Nestle has seen its sales surge in recent weeks.

By Mike Pomranz
April 24, 2020
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When’s the last time you ate a Hot Pocket? For anyone out of college and willing to admit they’ve even tried the microwavable meal, the only suitable answer is “It’s been years.” But as the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people eat, for an increasing number of Americans, the time since their last Hot Pockets can now be measured in hours.

Faced with stay-at-home orders, closed restaurants, economic uncertainty, and the ever-present fear of a deadly disease, Americans have been finding comfort in comfort foods. Sales numbers have been booming for items like cereal, ice cream, and mac ‘n’ cheese. And the phenomenon goes beyond the actual food item itself: People are also gravitating towards familiar brands. The mac needs to be Kraft, the cereal is General Mills, and the pockets—well—they have to be hot and produced by Nestle.

Credit: Dorann Weber / Contributor/Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, Nestle just reported its fastest quarterly growth in nearly five years. Not all Hot Pockets-related to be sure, but the business site specifically calls out Hot Pockets as a “tired old” brand (Bloomberg’s words, not Hot Pockets’) that’s seen COVID-19-related sales growth.

Beyond offering nostalgia of a simpler time when microwaving a meal was a quick way to circumvent mom’s healthy dinner plans, items like Hot Pockets have seen increasing popularity for plenty of reasons: They’re grocery store stalwarts (which is one of the few places we’re allowed to go); they’re inexpensive; and unlike smaller brands that may be struggling to navigate supply chains, Nestle knows how to keep products on the shelves. If you’ve gotten over your initial commitment to home cooking, Hot Pockets has you covered. And if you don’t know how long you’ll be stuck at home for, Hot Pockets have no qualms about hanging out in your freezer for long periods of time.

Granted, maybe Hot Pockets specifically aren’t your guilty pleasure. Maybe you recoil at the thought of “premium, sliced pepperoni and reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, all wrapped in a warm, garlic, buttery crust.” But we’re onto you. And maybe a microwavable pocket in your freezer isn’t the skeleton in your quarantine closet. But the larger takeaway is don’t be afraid to fess up to your current guilty pleasure. We've all got one, Hot Pockets or not.