ROSSYLN, VA. — The supply chain within Nestle’s US operations has remained “robust” since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the Rossyln-based company has been well equipped to meet increased demand across all its categories, said Steve Presley, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle USA.
“The increased demand we all saw in March as consumers really stocked the pantry and pushed the supply chain hard put pressure on the supply chain overall, but we haven’t had any major disruptions,” Mr. Presley told Fox Business host Maria Martiromo as part of an April 14 interview during “Mornings with Maria.” “I think this crisis is causing all of us to kind of learn and lead in a different environment.”
One trend Mr. Presley said he has seen has been a shift in consumer buying habits. He said the company’s Toll House and Carnation brands have gathered momentum as consumers seek out products that allow them to bake more as families. Another category experiencing strong growth: frozen pizza.
“Clearly on our frozen pizza businesses — DiGiorno, Jack’s, Tombstone — we’ve seen increased demand, significant increased demand if you look at March IRI data,” Mr. Presley said, noting that at the peak of pantry loading the increase was about 50%.
The gains also extended to Nestle’s other frozen brands, including Stouffer’s.
Asked by Ms. Martiromo whether he expects a severe recession, Mr. Presley said it’s still too early to draw any concrete conclusions.
“I think clearly a healthy consumer is healthy for our business, and as we come out of this I think it’s too early to know how long the recession will last,” he said. “We’ll clearly come out of this with higher unemployment, and there will be a short-term impact associated with that. I think we need to wait and see how fast the economy rebounds.”
As a food company that plays a pivotal role regardless of whether the economy is in or out of a recession, Nestle’s focus will remain on serving its customers through all its brands, Mr. Presley said.