The food and drink sectors expected to overcome global recession

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th April 2009

A global recession doesn’t signal disaster for all businesses, particularly many in the food industry. While many markets struggle in a floundering economy, others thrive. Market research leader Mintel has reviewed its research reports from the past two years, identifying which food and drink markets are actually flourishing.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen people trying to save money on food by either dining out less, cutting supermarket bills, or both. More people cook at home now, but they still want healthy, convenient, tasty food and drink for their dollar,” Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel, noted. “As consumers spend less and stay in more, certain food markets are benefitting. These recession-proof, or rather recession-fueled, industries are destined to do well throughout the economic downturn, but it will be interesting to track their sales after the nation recovers.”

Frozen Meals: Convenient and inexpensive, frozen meals have already been seen to benefit from the recession. Mintel expects a total sales increase of 4.5% in 2008, a jump from its original -0.3% expectation.

Bread: The core of basic eating, from breakfast bagels to lunchtime sandwiches to dinner rolls, Mintel views the bread market as recession-resistant. Originally predicted to grow 2.1% in 2008, their latest figures show the bread market has received a 7% boost, with higher growth forecast through to 2013.

Sweet Spreads: “Brown bag lunches are back!” Mr Patterson proclaimed. A healthy, cheap source of protein, peanut butter will drive sweet spread sales up 26% from 2008 to 2013, markedly above Mintel’s initial prediction of 12%.

Side Dishes: As more people cook at home, small conveniences like ready-prepared side dishes are not out of the question for many families. Original forecasts suggested the side dish market would grow 2.3% in 2008, but it actually rose by a robust 5% – driven by increased sales of basic comfort foods.

Coffee: The $4 latte is finally going out of fashion. More adults are making their coffee at home, causing the retail coffee market to grow 6% in 2008, a substantial jump from the original forecast of 2.4%. Mintel expects this market to enjoy continued success in the future, though recent, less expensive coffee drink launches from retailers will compete strongly with at-home coffee sales.

Mr Patterson advised that these ‘recession-proof’ food and drink markets share common features, as they fall into the comfort/simple food categories and can be purchased at a supermarket for a relatively low price. Then, they can subsequently be prepared to suit individual needs in the comfort of the person’s own home.