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Packaged Food in the US

United States packaged food market: Slow growth expected between 2012-2017

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2014-02-25 10:02:03 - Packaged Food in the US - a new market research report on

The US packaged food market saw slower current value growth in 2012 than in 2011, due to a decrease in many commodity prices. While bread makers faced some of the highest wheat prices since the beginning of the global economic recession, unit prices of dairy products declined in 2012, after rising in 2011. Cows milk prices had risen in 2011, due to a combination of rising global demand for milk and higher corn and soybean feed prices. As the global economy resumed growth, many consumers across the world could afford to purchase milk again. In 2012, an increase in cows milk production in Australia, Asia and South America translated into lower milk prices during the first half of the year.




have increased their social media consumption. Packaged food companies are following where their consumers are going by launching social media initiatives. Most packaged food companies now have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Manufacturers are now spending more on social media by hiring more social media managers in an effort to respond more quickly to online comments and engage with fans. Companies such as Kraft Foods and Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc have been able to attract an online audience through humour. Kraft introduced the Great American Bacon Barter campaign, while Perfetti introduced the Mentos Spider Swiper gaming app on its US Facebook page.

2012 witnessed two splits among conglomerates: Kraft Foods and Sara Lee. After buying Cadbury Plc in 2010, Kraft Foods split into Kraft Foods Group (domestically-focused cheese and ready meals) and Mondelez International (globally-focused biscuits and confectionery) in October 2012. In June 2012, Sara Lee Corp split into two separate, publicly traded companies: The Hillshire Brands Company (a North American retail and foodservice business) and DE Master Blenders 1753 NV (the beverage business). These spin-offs should help the new companies be more nimble and better able to focus their strategies on the slower growing North America business.

A decade ago, a consumer would typically have purchased food at a supermarket, a mass merchandiser or a speciality store. Now, shoppers are also buying food at club stores, discounters, drugstores and online. Supermarkets remain the main retail channel for buying packaged food, but other formats are making inroads by offering lower prices. Low income consumers have started to favour discounters like Aldi and Save-A-Lot, which carry fewer items and national brands than supermarkets, but offer lower prices. Dollar store chains Dollar General and Family Dollar have been expanding their food selections to increase store visits. Mass merchandiser Target has been rolling out its PFresh format, featuring fresh produce, frozen food, dairy products and dry groceries.

The US packaged foods market is expected to grow only slowly over 2012-2017. The expected economic recovery, however slow, will see Americans eating out more, thereby reducing demand in retail, exacerbated by mature market conditions and slow population growth. High growth opportunities will be in categories that offer freshness, convenience and health benefits. Items such as chilled ready meals, chilled soup and fresh cut fruit that offer the perception of freshness as well as ease-of-use are expected to grow in the forecast period.

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Mike King
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