Recession, You Say? Pass Me The Beer And Pasta

glass of beer and plate of spahgettiThe economy will take a toll on many types of food and beverages, but it will barely dent the sales of beer and other liquor, dry pasta and pasta sauces and some other lucky categories.

Those are findings from new research by The Nielsen Group, released during the group's Consumer 360 Conference last week in Phoenix.

A study focused specifically on alcoholic beverages showed that more than 80% of consumers say they're spending the same amounts on beer, wine and spirits as a year ago.

"Alcoholic beverages are withstanding the economic slowdown very well, compared to other categories that might be considered indulgent or non-necessities," summed up Danny Brager, VP/client service, beverage alcohol for The Nielsen Company. "To many consumers, alcoholic beverages are an affordable luxury."



Because most consumers who normally visit fine-dining restaurants, fast casual and casual restaurants, nightclubs, casinos/resorts, indoor/outdoor events and bars indicate that they are now engaging less often in these activities compared to a year ago (between about 50% and 70% indicated this, depending on the activity), these venues may be more susceptible to experiencing some drop-off in sales of alcoholic beverages, Nielsen noted. However, liquor sales in grocery, mass merchandise, convenience, liquor and other stores should benefit from the stay-at-home trend.

Meanwhile, a Nielsen analysis of macroeconomic variables, historical trends and consumer behavior using its new Predictive Macroeconomic Impact System concludes that in addition to pasta/pasta sauces and beer, seafood and candy are among the most recession-impervious product categories.

On the flip side, categories most vulnerable in recessions include carbonated beverages, eggs, cups/plates, food prep/storage products and tobacco.

During a poor economy, manufacturers and retailers can benefit by further increasing the exposure of products that are recession-proof, and implementing strategies that "shore up performance and maintain traction" for categories likely to be most affected, pointed out Eugene Roytburg, managing director, The Nielsen Company.

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