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Year ahead one of cautious optimism for food industry.

Economic recovery could have a positive impact on food retailing in the coming year, according to The Food Institute, but caution remains the byword for the outlook for 1993. The Fair Lawn, NJ-based food trade information and research association, sees grocery store tonnage rising as much as 1% at best this year, but the low end of the forecast indicates another "flat" year for food retailers. "Real" grocery store sales growth (adjusted for inflation) for 1992 is estimated by The Food Institute as rising only 0.2% from previous year levels.

"Depending on how the economy progresses, and the eventual course of inflation in 1993, grocery store sales will likely achieve a range of between $369 billion to as much as $378 billion this year," says Frank Panyko, Food Institute vice president, "compared to the $363 billion reached in 1992."

It is likely that economic improvement will be felt in the foodservice industry before any gains come to the grocery business, Panyko notes. "Commercial eating and drinking places recorded estimated sales of $199 billion in 1992. If consumer income starts to pick up this year, and as unemployment rates recede, sales this year could be in the $207 to $213 billion range." The Food Institute's estimate calls for a 2% to 3% inflation-adjusted sales growth, representing a rebound from the 0.5% "real" growth rate in 1992.

The Food Institute's new Focus publication, "Food Industry Outlook, 1993" looks into some of the facets of change expected this year, including the outlook for food prices and prospects for major food manufacturing sectors. The Focus is an eight-page supplement to The Food Institute Report, the association's regular weekly posting to its members. The supplement, which incorporates analyses of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Commerce Department, and other sources, is aimed at helping the institute's 2,600 member companies stay ahead of industry developments.

For further information, copies of the Food Institute FOCUS, "Food Industry Outlook, 1993," are available from The Food Institute, P.O. Box 972, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.
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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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