WASHINGTON (AP) - In the midst of the recession, there are some products that people apparently are unwilling to do without. Like chocolate.
And comfort food.
Strong sales of Spam, Dinty Moore stew and chili helped Hormel Foods post a 6% increase in grocery product sales in the first quarter of the year. Kraft Foods reported double-digit growth in macaroni and cheese dinners, while Hershey's profits surged 20%.
People are also buying gold coins, gardening seeds, running shoes and guns.
Wine drinkers are still sipping, though they're choosing cheaper vintages and drinking them at home.
In short, consumers have trimmed household budgets and put off major purchases, but they're willing to shell out for small indulgences.
A man whose company, Envirosell, monitors shopping behavior says in nearly every recession, the focus shifts to home, hearth and things that provide immediate happiness. As he puts it, "Lipstick and chocolate are small rewards that make you feel better."
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