In 2021, COVID-19 is still prominent and results in many consumers being forced to remain at home as much as possible in the first months of the year. The way out of lockdown is gradual, with phased lifting of measures; and the gradual shift back to eating outside the home is not as fast as expected in 2020, when most were hoping for a sharp rebound to pre-pandemic lifestyles.
Last year saw attempts by margarine players to change consumers’ perception about spreads. Mainly based on plant-based ingredients, margarine recipes and positioning can easily be tailored to fit the thriving plant-based trend in dairy.
Legacy brands reassured consumers in times of uncertainty and regained ground last year. Arla brand Lurpak grew by double-digits in 2020 and consolidated its number one position.
Last year seemed like a return to normalisation would occur from 2021 through retail, while demand through foodservice was set to surge back as lockdown measures were further eased. A year on, we see that a return to normalisation for demand in retail is more cautious and gradual: purchasing behaviour sees a tolerable drop in 2021, and is expected to experience a lower decline until 2024, from where demand is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.
As we emerge from lockdown, some eating occasions will go back out of the home. Butter will gradually resume pre-pandemic volumes and while margarine and spreads continue to decline to 2024, its performance is still expected to be stronger towards the end of the forecast period than it was pre-pandemic.
Legacy brands have offered reassurance during the height of the pandemic. At the same time, economically impacted consumers are going to turn to value for money options as the intricacies of the crisis impact their purchasing power.
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