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World Market for Packaged Food

January 2021

The packaged food industry has seen fundamental shifts on the back of the Coronavirus pandemic with increased demand for staple foods, cooking ingredients and meals. This report gives an overview of the dynamics seen across the world and analyses the key trends that are driving growth in the industry, including the continued demand for plant-based food and functional offerings and the unprecedented uptick of the online channel.

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Key Findings

Value for money offerings accelerate

The economic fallout on the back of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to be felt long into the future. With spending power reduced, demand for value for money offerings and private label is gaining ground. Manufacturers need to pay attention to delivering affordable solutions for consumers.

Plant-based foods to continue successful journey

Health and sustainability continue to be the two key pillars driving demand for plant-based food. The trend will continue to be led by Western markets and developments continue to expand beyond plant-based milk and meat substitutes, including cheese, fish and seafood alternatives.

Functional food is paramount on the back of the health crisis

Targeted functionality as a key component of wellbeing has become crucial for consumers, which is benefiting functional foods. Probiotic-rich foods to boost immunity have been important winners and further opportunities are set for mood-enhancing and stress-relief ingredients.

Purpose-driven brands more sought-after than ever

Although single-use plastic, recyclability and food waste remain important topics in the food industry, the pandemic has shifted the attention to corporate responses focused on social action, including support to the vulnerable and local farmers and communities.

E-commerce skyrockets

Given stay-at-home rules, online grocery is one of the most significant trends in the packaged food industry. Food players are prioritising this channel at the top of their corporate strategies as it is set to continue to be the fastest growing channel moving forward.


Examining five trends shaping the packaged food industry
COVID-19: impact on packaged food

Global Overview

In-home eating occasions surge benefiting sales through retail
The packaged food industry takes the lead in the FMCG space in 2020
Stay-at-home rules fuel sales of cooking ingredients, meals and staples
Emerging markets continue to gain ground in the packaged food industry
Cooking from scratch and convenient meal solutions grow in parallel
Consumer baskets have dramatically changed but will shift back
India and Vietnam show strong potential ahead
E -commerce accelerates at an all-time speed
China and the US: biggest contributors to e-commerce growth

Leading Companies and Brands

Private label and small brands set to gain further ground
Nestlé leads, while PepsiCo and Kraft Heinz accelerate in 2020
Nestlé enhances its ready meals business and DTC models
HelloFresh leads growth, followed by local Chinese milk formula brands

Top Five Trends Shaping the Industry

The COVID -19 pandemic refocuses the packaged food industry
Examining five trends shaping the packaged food industry
Economy offerings needed in the light of the economic damage
Businesses develop solutions considering price as a key purchase criteria
Plant-based accelerates and extends across the food industry
Functional food surges by targeting immunity and mental wellbeing
Environmental concerns are still top of the agenda…
… but initiatives with a social purpose have accelerated amid the pandemic
DTC models flourish among food manufacturers
E-commerce as a means of bringing experiences to the home

Global Outlook

Revisiting the forecast for global packaged food under various forecast scenarios
The packaged food industry benefits from its essential nature in 2020
Threats ahead as consumption occasions shift back to original channels
Packaged food is projected to deliver slow long-term growth
Digitalisation, nutrition and responsible offerings: A bright future ahead

Market Snapshots

Global snapshot of baby food
Global snapshot of baked goods
Global snapshot of breakfast cereals
Global snapshot of dairy
Global snapshot of edible oils
Global snapshot of processed fruit and vegetables
Global snapshot of processed meat and seafood
Global snapshot of ready meals
Global snapshot of rice, pasta and noodles
Global snapshot of sauces, dressings and condiments
Global snapshot of soup
Global snapshot of sweet spreads
Global snapshot of confectionery
Global snapshot of savoury snacks
Global snapshot of sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks
Global snapshot of ice cream and frozen desserts
Regional snapshot: Asia Pacific
Regional snapshot: North America
Regional snapshot: Latin America
Regional snapshot: Western Europe
Regional snapshot: Middle East and Africa
Regional snapshot: Eastern Europe
Regional snapshot: Australasia


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