Fast Company

Who's Winning—and Losing—in the Food Recession

foodbasketUpscale restaurants and gourmet labels may be hurting these days, but mega-manufacturers with a variety of brands (like Kraft and Nestle), along with club stores like Costco, are benefiting from the recession as at-home dining is on the rise. "It's not doom and gloom across food markets," says Bill Patterson, a senior analyst at consumer market research firm Mintel.

A look at some winners and losers:

UP: Sandwich materials

The so-called sweet spreads--jams, jellies and peanut butter--are forecast to grow 26% by 2013, in spite of the peanut-salmonella scare ("That's largely behind us now," Patterson says). Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are perfect for brown bag lunches, and also feed into the need for comfort food in rough times.

DOWN: Restaurants

The National Restaurant Association predicts an all-over decline of 1%, with fine dining taking the biggest hit. However, the "fast casual" sector, which includes chains like Panera and Subway, is projected to be up by 5% this year.

UP: Instant Food

If you can't cook but need to eat at home to save money, frozen entrees, canned goods, and other easy-to-prepare dishes are convenient and less expensive than dining out. Frozen meals jumped 4.5% last year, and side dishes like beans and mac and cheese grew more than 5%--also attributed to the "comfort food" factor. It hits the spot when people are "feeling at home or feeling miserable," says Patterson.

DOWN: Organic Food

The higher-priced organic food market has had growth rate of 15-20% over the past few years, but is predicted to see no growth to a decline of up to 1% this year. However, Patterson thinks it will bounce back by 2010, calling it a "big hiccup" and "temporary blip."

UP: Coffee

With more people brewing at home, retail coffee products grew 6% last year.

DOWN: Coffee Houses

At-home brewing will give the $4 latte a run for its money. (Starbucks, as if planning for just such a cafetastrophe, already introduced a new instant coffee.) Non-coffee shops, likes McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, will also benefit from selling specialty drinks at much lower price points.

UP: Salty Snacks

With more people staying at home, hosting at home, and renting DVDs, salty snack consumption was expected to rise 4% last year, but actual figures are coming in closer to 6%.

DOWN: Movie Theater Concessions

The high markup at the stand means moviegoers are being more sensible and spending less. "People have realized that what they're paying is so much more than what they'd be paying on the same foods if they didn't go to the movie theater," says Patterson.

UP: Butter, Margarine, and Oil

More home-cooking means more use for basics like shortening, butter and mayo, whether it's for that sandwich or some homemade cupcakes. The fats and oils are expected to grow almost 4% annually through 2013.

DOWN: Bakeries

In-store bakeries--ones in supermarkets, Wal-Marts and other places--aren't projected to post losses, but growth is anticipated to slow to 5% to 6%, compared to the 7% to 8% of past years.

Recession-Proof Food and Drink Markets (re-forecasted figures)
  Bread Sweet Spreads Frozen Meals Side Dishes Coffee Salty Snacks Fats & Oils
  $million $million $million $million $million $million $million
2003 16,652 3,904 5,020 3,787 4,566 12,191 5,093
2004 18,147 4,019 4,900 3,816 4,735 13,614 5,385
2005 17,668 4,030 5,132 4,021 5,915 14,308 5,540
2006 18,236 4,075 5,271 4,138 6,188 15,175 5,720
2007 18,520 4,232 5,303 4,289 6,411 15,956 5,998
2008 (est) 19,852 4,549 5,542 4,512 6,834 16,922 6,720
2009 (fore) 20,485 4,785 5,685 4,657 7,124 17,746 7,005
2010 (fore) 21,293 5,020 5,828 4,801 7,447 18,608 7,289
2011 (fore) 22,101 5,255 5,971 4,946 7,803 19,471 7,573
2012 (fore) 22,909 5,491 6,114 5,092 8,143 20,333 7,859
2013 (fore) 23,717 5,730 6,259 5,238 8,483 21,195 8,148

 

Recession-Proof Food and Drink Markets (re-forecasted figures)
  Bread Sweet Spreads Frozen Meals Side Dishes Coffee    
  % change % change % change % change % change % change % change
2003 - - - - - - -
2004 9 2.9 -2.4 0.8 3.7 11.7 5.7
2005 -2.6 0.3 4.7 5.4 24.9 5.1 2.9
2006 3.2 1.1 2.7 2.9 4.6 6.1 3.2
2007 1.6 3.9 0.6 3.6 3.6 5.1 4.9
2008 (est) 7.2 7.5 4.5 5.2 6.6 6.1 12
2009 (fore) 3.2 5.2 2.6 3.2 4.2 4.9 4.2
2010 (fore) 3.9 4.9 2.5 3.1 4.5 4.9 4.1
2011 (fore) 3.8 4.7 2.5 3 4.8 4.6 3.9
2012 (fore) 3.7 4.5 2.4 2.9 4.4 4.4 3.8
2013 (fore) 3.5 4.3 2.4 2.9 4.2 4.2 3.7


Source for Bread: Mintel/based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan ® Reviews Information/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys
Source for Sweet Spreads: Mintel's estimates based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys
Source for Frozen Meals: Mintel/based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan ® Reviews Information
Source for Side Dishes: Mintel/based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan ® Reviews Information
Source for Coffee: Based on Information Resource Survey, Inc. InfoScan® Reviews™, and Mintel's estimates based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys
Source for Editble Fats & Oils: Mintel/Based on Information Resources, Inc., InfoScan® Reviews™/CES
Source for Salty Snacks: Mintel/Based on Information Resources, Inc., InfoScan® Reviews™/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • Cristian Parrino

    Truly enjoyed reading this article.

    The increase of people cooking from home is a wonderful trend which can enhance health, enjoyment and collaboration. The recently launched Chef2video.com enables anyone to broadcast live from their kitchen while interacting with viewers, share recipes, how to's and more for this very purpose. Among other things, it allows cooking schools to extend their classes online and interestingly, one of the first users to do so is a Texas-based cooking school for children called Chefsville Kids.