Meme Monday: Why Is Everyone Baking?

April 6, 2020 / Catrina Salama, M.A.

On Mondays, the Brado Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) analyzes and explains the human behavior behind the memes (and more!) that they have been finding during this pandemic.

Today, we’re exploring why everybody seems to be baking…

The numbers

Nielsen data reveals that yeast sales increased 647% during the third week of March compared to that same week in 2019. Additionally, by the end of March, the hashtag #stressbaking had over 26,000 posts on Instagram and #quarantinebaking had close to 12,000.  

It’s no surprise that we are turning to baking now. It’s methodical, scientific, a controlled distraction and a well-known method for coping with stress.

Although there are some obvious answers to the question “why baking?” there are a few reasons why this caught the our attention:

Why baking and not cooking?

Cooking is a necessity, while baking is an indulgence. To reduce feelings of stress we often find ways to indulge to counter negative feelings. We also feel more in control when engaging in activities we want to do rather than need to do.

Bake the cookies, don’t buy them

We place higher value on things that we create. It’s the ‘IKEA effect’ – where we place higher value on furniture we assemble ourselves because we put in the effort. For things we eat, especially an indulgence, for it to deliver the highest degree of satisfaction and comfort, we have to put in the effort to create it.

Baking brings back the memories

In times of high stress, it is common for people to turn to childhood comforts for stress reduction. Our strongest tie to memory is often through the olfactory system as smell is a powerful trigger for “happy” or “comforting” times. Warm bread, cinnamon rolls and cakes remind us of childhood innocence, transporting us back to times when things seemed carefree, and we felt nurtured and safe.

Behavioral psychology helps us get a firm grasp on customers’ behavior. If we can help your company do the same, please let us know.

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Catrina Salama, M.A.

Catrina Salama has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and leads Brado’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. She has significant experience in hospital, academic and private settings, and has pursued various roles that include research, teaching, assessment and clinical counseling. Catrina’s specialty has been uncovering emotional experiences, guiding self-awareness, building identity and working with diverse populations. An Honors graduate from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, Catrina immerses herself in current psychology research, while doing her best to keep up with her four-year-old son, who is fond of making cameo appearances on all her video conference calls.