Panama’s sales of staple foods are buoyed by extensive urbanisation, the rise of modern grocery retailers and wider product selection. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resumption of pre-pandemic lifestyles, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and rising inflation, declining disposable incomes led to a trading down, even within staple foods categories.
During 2022, there was a decrease in volume sales of staple foods, driven by the conjunction of two factors. First, there was a significant increase in unit prices which discouraged consumption followed by the resumption of pre-pandemic lifestyles, including a return to the classroom and the workplace.
The working-class community in Panama typically consumes three meals per day, consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is usually fried and includes products such as eggs, tortillas (corn based), carimañola (a yuca- and meat-based pie), bread, empanadas and hojaldra (a flour-based fried bread).
During 2022, Panama went through a high-inflationary period, caused among other things by an increase in oil prices, which negatively affected the national balance of payments. This had a knock-on effect on the cost of electricity and fuel, which then further impacted production and distribution costs, leading to an increase in the cost of end products and services to consumers.
Panama’s infrastructure is among the best in Latin America, with a good network of roads, railroads and several international airports, although roads in rural areas remain poor. After a five-year investment plan worth USD13.
Over the forecast period, all categories of staple foods are expected to experience solid growth. However, the slowest growth will be in rice, pasta and noodles, due to its currently large penetration.
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NOTE: Couscous, polenta and quinoa are excluded from staple foods.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Staple Foods research and analysis database.
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