Although the year we left behind was hard for all sectors, at the level of massive consume it was atypical. As a result of the pandemic and confinement, consumption within the home registered growth peaks in the order of 7% to 9%, especially in food and home care baskets, according to Leslie Huamán, account director of Kantar Worldpanel division.
But although the food and home care baskets encouraged these results since the health crisis began, the story was different in terms of drinks non-alcoholic. A basket that suffered during the year, the product of a sum of factors.
Limitations such as immobility, shortages due to restricted hours, the impact of the pandemic on wineries – its main channel – and a reduction in demand outside the home, represented the main barriers for this industry, which was hit very hard during March and April, he says. María Luisa Málaga, executive director of the Association of non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks of Peru (Abresa).
An onslaught that meant a 14.8% drop in beverage sales during the first half of 2020, compared to the previous year. And although all the categories decreased, it was soft drinks and juices that began to recover the best since June, he adds.
Thiago Coelho, general manager of Coca-Cola Peru (now vice president of the company for Peru and Ecuador), confirms this. “Frugos Fresh sales [que ha duplicado sus ventas frente al 2019] are growing in transactions and volume “, he assures.
On the side of the Nielsen consultancy, however, they estimate that the fall in non-alcoholic beverages has been a little higher: -21.4%, compared to 2019, until September.
However, Huamán, from Kantar, points out that since October a slight improvement has begun to be seen. “It will not compensate for the decline in the year, but it marks a recovery in the medium term”, Explains the specialist.
Yacole Condor, commercial director of Nielsen Peru, emphasizes that no category has grown, but it does mark a certain recovery.
A similar situation lived alcoholic drinks, who not only suffered from the barriers that also afflicted nonalcoholics. They also felt the strong impact of the absence of the on-premise channel (sale in bars, discos, events) for several months. And it still remains so.
In particular the beer (whose production was paralyzed until the beginning of June), so that, after July, a recovery in alcoholic beverages was only beginning to be observed, says Condor. Furthermore, he says that while no more beers could be produced, spirits were gaining more relevance in the second quarter.
“This allowed products such as whiskey, rum, vodka to be released,” he notes.
The specialist even points out that this generated that new consumers or beer consumers entered to try these categories and prefer them.
SUMMER CAMPAIGN AND 2021
For 2021, the projections of the basket of non-alcoholic beverages should be taken with a grain of salt, indicate from Abresa. “I know I would expect a 9.9% recovery by 2021, but it is a figure that we take with caution because we know how dynamic our country is and because an electoral period is coming, ”says Málaga.
Along these lines, from Nielsen they note that the summer campaign it will also be very cautious because it will depend on how the pandemic evolves. Summer moves a lot on the beach, but if the restrictions remain as they are – because of the necessary measures to try to reduce the advance of COVID-19 and a possible second wave – this will not be very strong, adds Condor.
Will prepandemic sales levels be returned? For Kantar, the recovery of non-alcoholic beverages would take beyond the summer campaign. Maybe in the middle of June, he estimates.
Meanwhile, from Coca-Cola, Coelho indicates that the company foresees that the beverage sector will return to its preCOVID-19 sales levels in the first half of 2021 and that the summer campaign will be positive, especially for personal formats in waters , soft drinks and juices, a packaging that is beginning to recover.
However, the consulting firms specialized in consumption explain that because of how the pandemic is going, they will also have to focus on large, familiar formats, where a good part of consumption has migrated for almost 10 months.
On the side of alcoholic beverages, Condor estimates that this summer campaign there will be less sales: not having the channel on premise (bars, discos, events) will be what will affect the most.
Although there is still some uncertainty, the truth is that among the novelties of this 2021, Coca-Cola will strengthen its entry into the alcoholic beverages market with the hard seltzer Topo Chico and ensures that it will continue to invest in innovating packaging, formats and flavors. As well as in promotions and in its commitment to e-commerce.
Likewise, the summer campaign will be decisive in determining whether San Jorge –traditionally in cookies and bakery– will finally enter to compete permanently in the bottled water category, with a different price proposal. Today they have started to do it as a pilot.
Between 2014 and 2019, the non-alcoholic beverage industry invested S / 2,855 million. Until 2019, the sector contributed 2.5% of GDP and generated 128 thousand jobs.
According to Abresa, the beverage basket will have a 9.9% drop in 2020, compared to the previous one. For Nielsen, the figure would be double digits.
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