Makers of ‘Hunker-Down’ Foods Thrive

April 28, 2020
Food processors who make the products that consumers are snapping up due to the coronavirus situation are doing well.

As quarterly financial reports come in, food processors who make the products that consumers are snapping up due to the coronavirus situation are doing particularly well.

Staples like bread, pantry items and comfort foods like snacks and ice cream are all in demand by consumers staying home. The companies that furnish these kinds of foods are thriving. Conversely, companies or units that make foods mostly consumed away from home are feeling a pinch.

Nestlé, No. 3 on Food Processing’s Top 100™ list, reported its best quarterly sales in almost five years. March sales in North America and Europe were up 4.3%, beating analyst projections of 3%. CEO Mark Schneider was quoted by Reuters as warning against reading too much into the sales bump because the consumer situation is volatile.

Grupo Bimbo, No. 26 on the Top 100 list, saw North American sales of $1.5 billion, a 10% rise over the first quarter of 2019. CEO Daniel Servitje said a rise in mainstream bread and other baked goods in retail channels more than made up for a loss of sales to quick-service restaurants and other foodservice venues.

PepsiCo, No. 1 on our list, saw a sales rise of 7.7% from the first quarter of last year, to $13.9 billion. North American beverage sales were up 7.3%, and sales for its Frito-Lay snack unit rose 6.8%. However, overall beverage volume dropped by an unspecified amount, which CEO Ramon Laguarta attributed to a loss of sales in gas stations, convenience stores and other non-grocery outlets.

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