Sales of consumer packaged goods during the pandemic rose 9.4%, while industry workers made modest salary gains, according to a report from the Consumer Brands Association.
The association’s report, “CPG Economic Pulse: 2020 in review,” paints a picture of manufacturers of food, beverages and other goods rising to a challenge.
“As the world was swirling in chaos, CPG companies had to focus intensely on output because people needed their products to stay home,” said Consumer Brands’ CEO Geoff Freeman. “The 2020 economic data is the paper trail of a year when the CPG industry rose to the occasion and delivered.”
Monthly CPG sales show a 21% jump in March of last year, the first month that the pandemic took hold. That was the biggest single monthly jump, but almost every month of 2020 showed a year-over-year sales increase of at least 10%.
“The word ‘sales’ is a misnomer when thinking about 2020,” Freeman said. “Sales is really demand. It cannot be emphasized enough how incredible the industry’s response to sustained high demand was last year and continues to be into 2021.” Consumer Brands anticipates that sales won’t be as heated in 2021, but that they’ll still be up to 8.5% higher than 2019.
The report noted that employment in CPG manufacturing, while taking an initial hit, now stands at 98% of pre-pandemic levels, compared with 94% for manufacturing as a whole. It also noted that wages for food manufacturing in the third quarter of 2020 were 3.4% higher than the previous year, while nationwide wages (non-farm) declined by 0.8% across that same period.