Then why do our pants feel tighter after re-emerging from lockdown?
The global closure of restaurants, sports arenas and cinemas means sugar demand will drop this season for the first time in four decades. Drink and confectionery sales at giants including Coca-Cola Co. and Nestle
“If you go to the cinema you would probably quite happily have a liter or maybe more of soda while you watch the film, whereas we just don’t think people would drink a whole liter of soda while watching Netflix,” said Ben Seed, an analyst at supply chain services company Czarnikow in London.
The sugar industry has already been experiencing a slow-down before the pandemic, as global trends shifted towards healthier food consumption, and soda brands focused on launching “sugar free” or “diet” options.
In the first three weeks of April alone, Coca-Cola’s volumes slid about 25%, and the company said the pandemic’s effect will also impact Q2 earnings. PepsiCo expects Q2 revenue to fall as well.
Sugar consumption will slip 1.2% to 169.9 million tons this season, according to Czarnikow.
The International Sugar Organization said the crisis has wiped out most of 2020’s projected consumption growth.
However, companies may have to look towards Asia for more growth. Demand growth in places like Asia and Africa has outpaced the developed world in recent decades as rising populations and burgeoning middle classes spend more on treats.
For now, the focus is on how the Covid-19 crisis will hurt short-term demand.
“The bigger picture of falling sugar consumption comes from sales data of Coke and Pepsi, which is terrible,” says analysts.
Basically, changing health preferences coupled with reductions of activities like sports games, movie theatres and restaurants will mean that sugar consumption (particularly in the west).