Nestlé’s Chairman notes chocolate, frozen food sales rising despite difficult few months

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 26th March 2009

The Chairman of the world’s largest food manufacturer has told a Swiss weekly magazine that he expects the company to deliver strong results in 2009 despite a “difficult” few months for the sector.”Nestle will … grow respectably in 2009. But that doesn’t mean that the economic situation won’t be difficult,” Peter Brabeck told the Weltwoche weekly in an interview to be published today. “The past few months since November were difficult for the consumer good industry.”

The Swiss-based manufacturer reported organic sales growth of 8.3% last year, with “billionaire brands” like Nescafé, KitKat and Milo leading the way.

Mr Brabeck reported that the presure on food manufacturers was increasing in some sectors as consumers eat what they already have stored at home with retailers cutting stock and increasing private label ranges.

A change in consumer habits had seen more people driven to fast-food away from fine dining, and, in the grocery sector, bottled water sales were falling while frozen food and chocolate were on the rise. “Now that people don’t have a new television or a new car … they eat a bit more chocolate,” he explained.

The financial crisis was a concern but, with the global population on the rise and global warming a major worry, Mr Brabeck believes a food crisis could prove more of a threat.

Nestlé remains one of the more optimistic food companies, predicting growth of upwards of 5% for 2009.