After the storm of recession, dead calm. Sales have flattened for the top 50 fmcg giants of today but a few are speeding along, writes James Ball

As recession battered global markets, the world’s biggest fmcg companies proved their mettle.

Huge, efficient and diverse, they ploughed through 2008’s economic storm – as with 2007’s spiralling inflation – virtually unscathed.

So, with the black clouds retreating, the relative calm of 2009 would be no challenge – right?

Wrong. The Global 50, compiled by OC&C Strategy Consultants, are labouring under some of the toughest conditions yet: stagnant consumer demand, volatile commodity prices and – on a scale not seen before – slick and effective local competition in emerging markets.