Retail value sales of savoury snacks slipped into decline in 2020, with some countries seeing weaker year-on-year performances as a result of the economic impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) hitting consumers’ disposable incomes. Mobility restrictions also negatively affected on-the-go sales. However, sales rebounded in 2021, with further growth expected in the coming years, in spite of the increasing prevalence of health labelling regulations in the region.
A combination of ongoing recessions (eg in Argentina), social unrest (eg in Chile) and the pandemic (across the region) were impacting sales of savoury snacks in Latin America in the final years of the review period. With the pandemic further worsening Argentina’s recession, this country lost almost a quarter of its savoury snacks value sales over the course of 2019 and 2020, for example. This naturally had a dampening effect on the overall region’s performance, which recorded modest positive growth in 2019 and a slight decline in 2020.
Although COVID-19 was still very much present in the region in 2021, savoury snacks sales nevertheless returned to positive growth in this year. Sales are expected to increase throughout the forecast period, driven by popular products like savoury biscuits or potato chips, although the nuts, seeds and trail mixes category is expected to be the most dynamic product area in 2021-2026.
Although it has recorded very strong sales and share growth during the pandemic, e-commerce was still only accounting for 1% of savoury snacks retail value in 2021. Independent small grocers remains, by some way, the biggest distribution channel, still accounting for almost half of retail value sales.
There is an increasing trend towards healthier products in Latin America, which will be given added impetus by rising health and wellness concerns due to the pandemic as well as regulations being introduced in a number of countries stipulating that fat and salt content, among other things, have to be clearly stated on product packaging. Mexico already has such regulations in place, while Brazil and Argentina are also expected to see their introduction in the coming years.
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