Packaged Food and Beverage: world trade still positive in Q4-2019

The "acyclical" nature of the sector's demand is partly preserving its growth worldwide

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In the 4th quarter of 2019, world trade of Packaged Food and Beverage1 continued to grow (albeit at a slower pace than the average for the decade).
In fact, 2019 ended with a year-on-year world trade's increase of around +2% at constant prices (compared to +3% in 2018 and a yearly average growth of +2.9% since the beginning of the decade).


Since the beginning of the decade, an uninterrupted growth of the industry's world exports in quantity.

As the chart above shows, world exports of packaged food and beverage - measured at constant price- have shown an uninterrupted growth over the last decade, showing that the "acyclical" nature of demand for food products has partly preserved sales performace of the sector. Even in the most recent period, the sector has shown positive trends, despite the international trade downturn3.

The most dynamic sectors

Looking at sector performance, world trade of Cookies and other bakery products (+5.8% at constant prices in the last quarter, with an increase of 6.4 percentage points year-over-year), Milk, yogurt, butter and cheese (+3% at constant prices, with an increase of about 4 percentage points year-over-year in quantity) and Processed and packaged meat and fish (+2.1% year-over-year, which decelerated in the most recent six-month period) confirmed positive trends.
These are the sectors that contributed most to the growth of global Packaged Food and Beverage sales in the last quarter of last year.

Also worth highlighting are the increases - accelerating in the last quarter - in international trade of Oil, condiments and spices (+5.7% at constant prices on a quarterly basis, +3.6% on an annual basis) and, after two quarters of decline, of Processed and packaged vegetables and fruit (+2.2%).

Positive contributions, albeit decelerating in the last quarter, are also evident for Tea and packaged coffee (+1.8% at constant prices, after +4.7% in the previous quarter) and Alcoholic beverages (+0.4%) exports.

The most dynamic markets

The new highs reached by the Chinese,
US and Canadian markets...

Despite a slowdown in Q4-2019, global sales of Packaged Food and Beverage reached new highs in China (+8.5% at constant prices year-on-year), United States (+6% at constant prices year-on-year) and Canada (+4% at constant prices year-on-year).

On the Chinese market, world sales of Meat and fish, processed and packaged increased by +11.3% year-over-year at constant prices and international exports of Milk, yogurt, butter and cheese increased by +6.8% year-over-year at constant prices.

In the US market, sales from abroad reached a new high for Alcoholic Beverages (+5% on an annual basis at constant prices), Cookies and other bakery products (+12.9%), Rice, pasta and packed flour (+12.7%) and Oil, condiments and spices (+7.3%).

In the Canadian market, the largest contributions to growth performance came from sales of Processed and packaged meat and fish (+5.6% at constant year-over-year prices) and Cookies and other bakery products (+8% year-over-year).

.. the confirmation of good performance
in the Polish market...

In the fourth quarter of 2019, sales of Packaged Food and Beverage from the world confirmed a positive trend in the Polish market (bringing the annual cumulative to +6.4%, after +8% in 2018).
The largest contributions to growth were made by sales of Oil, condiments and spices (+16.9% at constant prices on an annual basis) and Processed and packaged vegetables and fruit (+9.3% on an annual basis).

.. and the (albeit partial) recoveries
of the Russian and Iranian markets.

In the most recent quarter, world sales of Packaged Food and Beverage to Russia were up significantly (+11.8% at constant prices, confirming the recovery phase that began in recent quarters, ending the year at a cumulative gain of +8.7% at constant prices).
More specifically, world exports of Milk, yogurt, butter and cheese (+23.3% at constant prices on an annualized basis)4 and Alcoholic beverages (+11.5% on an annualized basis) recovered in the Russian market.

Even though it slowed down in the most recent quarter, it is worth mentioning the strong increase in world exports of Packaged Food and Beverage to Iran (+30.9% cumulative at constant prices); in particular, it is to be noted the recovery of Iranian market for Packaged rice, pasta and flour (+35.8% at constant prices on an annual basis, still 26% lower than the highs of 2013) and the record sales of Sugar, chocolate, confectionery and ice cream.

1) Pre-estimations made by StudiaBo from the foreign trade declarations of a sample of 64 countries worldwide, available in the World Trade Quarterly Flows' Datamart of ExportPlanning's Market Research-Analytics tool.
2) See the sectors' list analyzed in the following industry's description.
3) Measured at constant prices, in Q4-2019 world imports of total goods showed a negative year-over-year trend for the 4th consecutive quarter.
4) However, these export levels are much lower (just under half) than the Russian market's maximum in 2013.