Food and alcohol predicted to be only categories with positive growth in 2020

1 Jun 2020

Thanks to the essential nature of the supermarket products, fresh food, hot drinks, packaged food and alcoholic beverages are forecast to grow in 2020, according to research by Euromonitor International. Alcohol will see the slowest growth out of these categories while the other four industries are expected to “substantially outperform” their pre-COVID-19 expectations.

Prior to the onset of the worldwide pandemic, most industries were forecasted to experience positive growth in 2020. However, as the health crisis has ushered in the beginnings of a recession, consumers have tightened up their proverbial belts and begun to move away from conspicuous consumption. Consumer packaged goods, remain in a healthy growth pattern due to the fact that they are non-discretionary items.

Food and alcohol predicted to be only categories with positive growth in 2020

The continued closure of many foodservice outlets and restaurants has further propelled growth in food retail. Without cafés open on a widespread scale, consumers have begun stocking up on tea and coffee for home use. As a result, Euromonitor expects value sales of hot drinks to increase by 6% in 2020, which is 4% higher than original pre-COVID-19 predictions.

Herbal tea will see particular growth due to its association with wellness and immunity building. Both China and Iran have endorsed these herbal beverages as a method to fight off the virus and, although the same cannot be said for the World Health Organization (WHO), the beverage is soaring in popularity.

Along with the closure of cafés, pubs and bars have also been shuttered. Without access to these community watering holes, at-home alcohol consumption is predicted to lift. However, there is a risk to the category if consumers trade in the premiumized booze that has been driving the category growth for more economical substitutes.

Pantry staples with long shelf lives are also seeing significant growth, which was, in large part, driven by short term stockpiling at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Euromonitor says that this spike in March and April will result in an overall increase in sales for 2020. In the long-term though, consumers will be looking to economize on food and will, therefore, seek out discount options which could affect sales numbers in this category.

Additionally, Euromonitor is forecasting disposable income to decline by 3.7% in 2020, a significant drop compared to the 2.6% real growth seen in 2019. With less money in their pocketbooks, consumers will become more cautious in their purchasing decisions and this thriftier mindset may affect the long-term growth of food and beverage despite the category being a necessity in the average household.

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