Consumers Take Price Hikes in Stride
Canadians bought more bread, crackers, cookies and other baked goods in 2008 despite double-digit price increases. Nielsen MarketTrack reports that unit volumes for commercial (packaged) bread sold through grocery, drug and mass merchandisers rose one per cent for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 20 to $2.14 billion, despite the 12-per-cent increase in prices over the same period. Statistics Canada reported that 675-g loaves of bread sold for an average of $2.43 in December up from $2.18 in the same month of 2007.
Rice and pasta prices rose by 27 per cent and 34 per cent respectively over the same period, but consumption increased by seven per cent for the former and three per cent for the latter. The only grain-based packaged food categories to lose ground were multigrain snacks (unit volume down 14 per cent) and novel portable snacks such as granola bars and compartment snacks (unit volume down three per cent).
The $1.3-billion hot and ready-to-eat cereal categories enjoyed volume gains of two to four per cent as manufacturers touted the value-per-serving message.