Kiwis desperate to stay healthy in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic have been buying up vitamin C in whatever form they can get it.
Since the virus hit our shores in early March, sales of oranges, kiwifruit and vitamin C supplements have surged.
Citrus New Zealand domestic market lead James Williams said sales of New Zealand navel oranges were 10-20 per cent higher than in previous years meaning Kiwis gobbled between 800,000 and 1.6 million kilograms of extra oranges.
He said pre-packed bags of the fruit had proved especially popular during the peak of the outbreak in New Zealand because there was less human interaction involved.
"Whenever we get a bout of Covid, pre-pack sales go up 200-300 per cent," he said. "That's the option people are going for."
Williams said every time a lockdown was announced oranges flew off the shelves as people began panic buying and he believed there were two Covid-19 related reasons for the spike in sales.
"I think we've seen a resurgence of buy local. The New Zealand navel has, over the last few years, lost sales to the Australian mandarins. This year we've bucked that trend."
But perhaps more important to many shoppers was the health benefit.
"With those deemed to be a superfood or high vitamin C product, when Covid hits, sales are up," he said. "Oranges tick all those boxes."
The popularity of the fruit this season meant consumers would have seen the price of the fruit go up in the last seven-10 days as the supply of the fruit dwindled, Williams said.
A Countdown spokeswoman said, between March and June, they had also noticed a double digit increase in the sale of oranges - along with pineapples and cabbages.
But the biggest increase was in kiwifruit sales which went up more than 20 per cent, she said.
Southern Produce supply category manager Dennis Noble confirmed the demand for kiwifruit had risen since Covid-19 reached our shores.
Southern Produce supplies kiwifruit, avocados and blueberries to supermarkets.
"When the country was in lockdown, our business growth was substantial because people didn't have access to other suppliers," he said citing a 15 per cent increase since March.
But there was no doubt there had been an increase in the number of kiwifruit sold in New Zealand.
"We're finding the Australian market has been extremely buoyant too," Noble said. "There's a consideration that the vitamin C content is a key driver."
He too said sales spiked when lockdown was announced but the demand during Covid alert level 4 did not waiver.
While lockdown restrictions meant the company's capability was reduced 30 per cent, the demand increased by the same amount, he said.
But it's not just in New Zealand. In June, Kiwifruit exporter Zespri cashed in on soaring Covid-19 demand for fruit with high vitamin C, recording its highest sales ever in hard-hit Europe.
One of the most popular searches on Google around that time was for foods high in vitamin C, the company said.
Foodstuffs NZ head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said health supplements also became a go-to purchase for many during lockdown. She said 80 per cent of people who purchased supplements had not done so before.
"We learned that Vitamin C was the toilet paper of the supplement category; our customers couldn't get enough of it."
But it wasn't just supplements, Covid-19 had accelerated New Zealanders' concern with health and wellbeing, Laird said.
"With that we've seen a rise in superfoods. Post-lockdown we're expecting up to 30 per cent of people to continue baking and predictions are healthier baking trends are on the rise."
Noble saw that in the sale of avocados which was also ahead of last year.
While avocados were more affordable this year thanks to a plentiful supply, Noble believed the extra time people had during lockdown to cook meals from scratch had contributed to the higher than usual demand.