hen moms or dads are putting together an entree for their family, it helps to have someone else take care of the sides. As a result, shoppers have been snapping up refrigerated side dishes at a healthy clip during the past three years.
The $1.4 billion category demonstrated its resilience during the recession, as shoppers cut back on dining out, and looked for easy ways to make family meals at home. Dollar sales were up 9.6% in 2007, 6.5% in 2008 and 4% in 2009. Although it may appear that sales are on a downward trend, unit sales were up 6.1% during the latest 52 weeks ending June 13, compared to 1.3% volume growth during calendar 2009.
Growth has been led by the two largest subcategories, refrigerated prepared salads, which posted 7% gains during the latest 52 weeks, netting $573 million in sales, and refrigerated appetizers and snack rolls, which were up 4.2%, for almost $400 million in sales.