Nestle cut its full-year underlying sales growth forecast to 2-3%, saying demand had slowed as customers worked their way through cupboards they stocked up with food at the start of coronavirus related-lockdowns. 

Packaged food companies have weathered the crisis better than other industries as consumers bought coffee, pasta or infant formula in bulk during Covid-related lockdowns.

However Nestle's business supplying restaurants and cafes has suffered as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Organic sales growth, which excludes the effect of currency swings and acquisitions, eased to 1.3% in the three months to June, from 4.3% in the first quarter, the maker of KitKat chocolate bars said in a statement. 

"Most categories saw consumer destocking in the second quarter," Nestle said. 

The Swiss giant lowered its expectations for organic growth this year to 2-3%, from "more than 3.5%" previously. Its trading operating margin is expected to improve after progressing to 17.4% in the first half. 

French peer Danone also today reported lower like-for-like sales in the second quarter and Unilever posted a smaller-than-expected fall in second-quarter sales last week. Neither gave a growth forecast for this year. 

Nestle's organic growth for the first half reached 2.8%, above a forecast for 2.3% in a company-compiled analyst poll. 

Net profit grew by 18.3% to 5.9 billion Swiss francs ($6.46 billion) in the first half, ahead of a forecast for 5.07 billion francs in the poll. 

Nestle said the overhaul of its business toward high-margin foods such as plant-based burgers remained on track.

As part of the shift it has put underperforming North American water brands and Chinese peanut milk Yinlu up for sale.