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.
At any given time over the course of the historic period, at least one of the major countries in the region was struggling with economic and/or social unrest. Right at the start of the historic period, Brazil was only just emerging from a deep recession, while Argentina was experiencing economic difficulties at its end. Social unrest raised its head in Chile in 2019, having a knock-on effect on the country’s economic indicators, while Venezuela’s once flourishing economy has been in steep decline for some years now. This was having an effect on savoury snacks, which was recording stagnating or even declining sales in some years in 2015-2020.
However, with the region already registering a recovery in its performance in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of the economic impact of the measures taken to contain its spread, seems to have actually helped drive sales of savoury snacks in the retail channel. With foodservice sales collapsing, some of the horeca consumption occasions were moving into people’s homes, where consumers were spending a lot more time than normal, anyway, due to lockdowns as well as many people working and learning from home – and therefore also snacking there.
Albeit less marked than in some regions, there is a rising trend towards healthier products in Latin America, eg naturally healthy products – with nuts, seeds and trail mixes due to see dynamic forecast period growth – but also products like potato chips with reduced fat or salt. This could also be driven by new labelling regulations in Mexico to inform consumers about the high content of certain ingredients in food products as well as Brazil’s planned new traffic light system to warn people about the content of potentially harmful ingredients like salt and fat.
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