Costco’s decision to suspend half-leaf cakes will not discourage people from gathering during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say.

In a statement to Yahoo Life, Costco confirmed that it is not selling
In a statement to Yahoo Life, Costco confirmed that it is not selling “1/2 Cake Cakes at any location in the US And at this time.” The big box retailer added that it has no plans to return the cakes. (NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images)

Costco buyers are having a variety of reactions after the company announced that it stopped selling its popular half-leaf cakes. The department store giant subtly made the announcement on social media weeks ago, but the news only recently made headlines.

In a May 29 Facebook post, Costco wrote: “Great achievements deserve a celebration! Share the love with your graduate by picking up a 10 “round cake at the bakery. Please note: Half-sheet cakes are currently not available to order or customize.”

Costco has not publicly stated its reasoning for discontinuing the half-sheet cake. When contacted for comment, a Costco spokesperson gave the following statement to Yahoo Life: Currently, we are not selling our 1/2 sheet cakes at any location in the US, and at this time, we have no immediate plans to bring them back. We are focusing on our smaller 10 “white and 10″ chocolate cakes that seem to resonate with our members. ”

However, the company responded to a comment in its May 29 Facebook post that the move was, at least in part, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “To help limit personal contact and create more space for social distancing, Costco has reduced service in some departments,” the company said.

Reactions have been mixed online. Some are now pleading with the chain to bring back the half-leaf cake. “Please return the cakes, even if it’s just to preorder,” wrote one on Facebook. “The round is not big enough for bigger families. We have had 3 birthdays[s] We would have bought them for another, soon, as well as graduation. Our grocery cakes are good, but Costco is not good. “

“I love leaf cakes at Costco, we miss them in all this mess!” another said. “We bought them for all occasions, and we would freeze some… the cake without thawing would be just as fresh! … I’m sure I’ll write corporate!

Others seemed unsure of what the company hopes to achieve with the move.

And some even made it political.

It’s an interesting move for Costco as the company is bringing free samples to some stores, a feature the chain removed after the pandemic.

Meanwhile, other companies continue to produce large pieces of cake. Warehouse competitor Sam’s Club still offers several types of half-sheet cakes. BJ also has several half-sheet cakes and even full-sheet cakes available, according to an online order form.

Reduced access to popular party foods doesn’t seem to be a trend yet. Some brands are even launching new products designed for crowds, like Stouffer’s new ‘Mac on Tap’ dispenser. The company tweeted the new offer Friday on Twitter and sent a press release to Yahoo Life that people can enjoy this oversized portion of macaroni and cheese at back doors and at wedding receptions.

What will the Costco movement achieve, if at all?

Experts in both infectious disease and consumer behavior don’t think interrupting half-leaf cakes leads to much. When it comes to helping encourage social distancing and reducing the spread of COVID-19, “I don’t think it’s helpful,” Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety, tells Yahoo. . Lifetime.

While the move is “very influential” given how beloved Costco half-sheet cakes are, Costco also “runs the risk of upsetting consumers,” Ayalla Ruvio, an applied consumer behavior researcher at the Michigan State University. Throwing away these cakes can be especially annoying for people on some level because they may already feel like they’ve sacrificed a lot for the pandemic, Ruvio says.

The fact that the cake is cut is even worse. “This is comfort food and it makes people feel better,” says Ruvio. “People may feel like they’ve already quit so much because of COVID.”

Costco is not the only company taking a position to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some major grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers across the country have required people to wear masks to enter their stores, even in areas where the local government does not require it. That can be helpful in reducing the spread of the virus, says Dr. Adalja. “No business place wants to be a focus of spread, so it is important that they take appropriate action, even if it goes beyond the legal requirement,” he says.

While some customers may applaud those moves, they can also be polarizing and even confusing, Ruvio says. “This is a big problem because there is no consistent or universal policy,” he says, citing shoppers who need to use one-way aisles at Walmart, but not Target as an example. “Too, [many] stores don’t really enforce their own policy, “says Ruvio. Overall,” this creates a sense of chaos and confusion, “he says, adding that it also” makes consumers less confident about businesses and local governments. “

And, when it comes to decisions about what to sell or not to sell, Ruvio says it can be a slippery slope. “The question is, ‘Where do you stop?'”

“At some point, it is up to the consumer what to do with their product, not the companies. This feels extreme, “she says.

Finally, Ruvio hopes that the pandemic will continue to impact consumer behavior. But if that means you will still be able to get your half-sheet cake (not Costco) or other oversized party supplies elsewhere in the future, it remains to be seen.

For him coronavirus latest news and updates, follow along According to experts, people over 60 and immunocompromised people continue to be the most exposed. For questions, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s and From the WHO resource guides.

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