Packaged Food Demand Grows as Coronavirus Fears Spike: 4 Winners

Ritujay Ghosh

The spread of coronavirus lead to stockpiling of essential goods, most importantly food and staples. Demand for packaged food witnessed a surge as lockdowns were imposed, and packaged food and health supplements with extended shelf life started going off the racks.

Now that the United States is once again witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, it is likely that the trend of stockpiling on packaged food will continue as most people are apprehensive about stepping out. The packaged food segment is one of the least impacted from the coronavirus and will continue to boom in the days to come.

COVID-19 Changes Food Habit

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people are shopping and eating and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) have seen a massive surge. More than 40% of parents in the United States have increased snacking during the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2020 Food and Health Survey show.

Also, 85% of adults have changed their eating or food preparation habit, with many relying on packaged food given that it somewhat eliminates chances of physical proximity and infection.

Moreover, an increasing number of people are opting forcomfort food at home given that most restaurants and cafes remain closed. According to a CNBC study of FMCG Gurus, 60% of the 23,000 people surveyed said that said they bought more comfort food, including confectionery during the pandemic.

Many consumers are also actively looking for healthy and convenient alternatives to traditional options. A total of 80% of consumers said that they were planning to go for a more healthy diet because of COVID-19, a noticeable increase from the 73% who said this in April.

Fears of Second Wave of Coronavirus

With the economy reopening, more cases of coronavirus are being reported from across the country. Many states are also postponing reopening plans. Already 12 states have temporarily halted their next phase of reopening due to the sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

Given that there are no immediate signs of finding a vaccine or cure to the deadly COVID-19, fears are likely to continue. Although the government has indicated that another lockdown is quite unlikely as the economy needs to get back on its feet, it won’t come as a surprise if people once again start confining themselves to their homes.

Sales of packaged food, as part of essential goods, may once again see a surge given that they have more shelf life. Also, changing food habits like eating at more frequent intervals and snacking more often are likely to help the packaged food industry. Health conscious people might also start stockpiling on health foods and supplements.

Our Choices

B&G Foods, Inc. BGS, along with its subsidiaries, manufactures, sells and distributes high-quality, shelf-stable, frozen food and household products across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 31.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 28.7% over the past 60 days. B&G Foods sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. HAIN produces, distributes, markets and sells various natural and organic foods as well as personal care products. It offers groceries, non-dairy beverages and frozen desserts, flour and baking mixes, cereals, condiments, cooking oils, and infant and toddler food.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 19.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 8.2% over the past 60 days. Hain Celestial carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Flowers Foods, Inc. FLO produces packaged bakery foods in the United States. The company specializes in baked food products as well as produces a wide range of breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes and tortillas.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 13.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 37.9% in the past three days. Flower Foods holds a Zacks Rank #2.

Medifast, Inc. MED is a leading manufacturer and distributor of clinically proven healthy living products and programs.  

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 27.2% over the past 60 days. Medifast has a Zacks Rank #1.

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Click to get this free report The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN) : Free Stock Analysis Report BG Foods, Inc. (BGS) : Free Stock Analysis Report Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO) : Free Stock Analysis Report MEDIFAST INC (MED) : Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.