Supermarket sales reached $437 billion in 2009, according to Progressive Grocer's 2010 Consumer Expenditures Study. It marked a modest 1.6 percent sales gain year-over-year, but it was the first time in five years that supermarket sales didn't exceed the gain of the prior year.
The economic downturn certainly impacted the supermarket business, with American consumers cutting back on almost all purchases. Had it not been for some of the product groups on the following list—those that consumers rely on in good and bad economic times—it might have been worse.
But this year, with food prices on the rise, can these same product groups keep supermarket sales in positive territory? Global prices of agricultural commodities are picking up, and foodstuff prices passed their 2008 zenith in December, according to data compiled by the United Nations. It could make for tough days ahead for consumers and grocers alike.
Click ahead to see what American consumers continued to put in their shopping carts even as the economy faltered.
By Constance Parten, Senior Producer
Posted 24 Jan., 2011