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    Mintel Identifies Recession-Proof Food and Drink Markets

    Life in a recession isn’t bad for everyone. While many markets struggle with the sluggish economy, others thrive. Market research leader Mintel has reviewed and re-forecasted its research reports from the past two years, identifying which food and drink markets are actually being improved by recessionary woes.

    Life in a recession isn’t bad for everyone. While many markets struggle with the sluggish economy, others thrive. Market research leader Mintel has reviewed and re-forecasted its research reports from the past two years, identifying which food and drink markets are actually being improved by recessionary woes.

    “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,” comments Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Chicago-based Mintel. “As consumers spend less and stay in more, certain food markets are benefiting. 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.”

    The core of basic American eating, from breakfast bagels to lunchtime sandwiches to dinner rolls, The bread market is faring the recession quite well, Mintel says. Originally predicted to grow 2.1 percent in 2008, Mintel’s latest figures show the bread market having grown 7 percent. Mintel now predicts higher growth for bread through 2013.

    America’s quintessential lunch -- the PB&J -- is doing great during recessionary times. A healthy, cheap source of protein, peanut butter will drive sweet spread sales to increase 26 percent from 2008-2013, up substantially from Mintel’s initial prediction of 12 percent.

    Convenient, available in family-sized servings, filling and often inexpensive, frozen meals will undoubtedly benefit from the recession. Mintel expects a total sales increase of 4.5 percent in 2008, a jump from its original -0.3 percent expectation.

    More people are cooking at home, but small conveniences like ready-prepared side dishes aren’t out of the question for many families. Mintel expected the side dish market to grow only 2.3 percent in 2008, but in fact, it grew more than 5 percent, driven by increased sales of basic comfort foods such as mac and cheese.

    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 percent in 2008, a substantial leap from Mintel’s original forecast of 2.4 percent. Mintel expects this market to enjoy continued success in the future, though recent, less expensive coffee drink launches from Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s will compete with at-home coffee sales.

    Mintel’s Patterson notes that these recession-proof food and drink markets share commonalities. These products often fall into the comfort/simple food categories, and can be purchased at a general supermarket for a relatively low price. Then they can be prepared and enjoyed with relative ease at home.

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