Growth in specialty food and beverage categories may be constrained, as the average consumer's food budget shrinks, according to a food industry analyst.

Commenting ahead of Frost & Sullivan's presentation on the North American food and beverage industry to be held later today (26 February), research analyst Christopher Shanahan said: "The economic slowdown is expected to temporarily constrain consumer spending on food and beverages that employ premium pricing strategies."

However, he added: "The demand for products with enhanced health and wellness benefits is expected to remain in place. Consumers are going to maintain their health and wellness goals by clipping more coupons and choosing more store or private label brand alternatives."

The briefing is expected to review the issues of the slowing economic environment on food and beverage industry supply chains and price volatility in 2008.

In addition, the presentation will discuss the strategies currently adopted by current industry participants and will assesses actions companies can implement in order to grow their businesses in current downturn.

"In 2008, the ailing economy has adversely impacted most industries, including the food and beverage industry," the company said in a statement. "From the farmer's field to the consumer's fork, the food and beverage industry is facing a wide set of challenges, and industry reaction will transform the future of this industry."