Sales growth in food, beverage sector falls to 17-year low amid COVID-19

04/06/2020 05:44 PM
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Taipei, April 6 (CNA) In the first two months of 2020, Taiwan's food and beverage sector posted its slowest year-on-year sales growth in 17 years, due largely to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, which has kept people at home, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Monday.

MOEA data showed that revenue in the sector totaled NT$141.5 billion (US$4.69 billion) in the two-month period, barely 0.5 percent higher than a year earlier, when the sector generated NT$811.6 billion in sales.

The growth for January and February 2020 was the slowest since 2002, when sales in the food and beverage sector fell 2.8 percent year-on-year in the two-month period, the MOEA said, attributing the anemic growth this year to a decline in dining out habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the poor sales growth in the entire sector, however, food and drink businesses that offer delivery services saw a 5.2 percent increase in sales in January and February compared to the same period last year, the MOEA said.

Those that do not provide such services suffered an 8.0 percent year-on-year fall in revenue during the two-month period, according to the MOEA.

About 53.8 percent of food and drink businesses in Taiwan provide delivery services, the ministry said, citing an annual poll that showed the ratio was 47.1 percent in 2019 and 40.1 percent in 2018.

According to the survey, food and beverage vendors that provide delivery services were downbeat about their expected sales reports for March, with 88 percent of them predicting an average 24.8 percent year-on-year decline, the ministry said.

Among those without delivery services, 95.3 percent estimated an average sales drop of 31.6 percent for March from a year earlier, the survey indicated, according to the MOEA.

Meanwhile, as people become more reluctant to dine out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more of them are cooking at home, which has boosted sales at supermarkets and hyper markets, the ministry said.

In the first two months of the year, sales at supermarkets and hyper markets rose 15.1 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the MOEA said.

(By Wu Po-wei and Frances Huang)

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