The signs are all there that we’re in a recession: many exchange traded fund (ETF) sectors have taken a hit, Congress is calling hearings, the Federal Reserve is talking about more rate cuts, housing, retail and unemployment numbers are unimpressive at best.

When will the government finally admit what we’ve all suspected for some time now – that the recession has already started? We can’t answer that, but what we can tell you is that now is the time to start thinking about how you can protect your portfolio. The last thing you want to do is wait until it’s too late.

Here are a few sectors that have been bucking the trend:

Let’s face it: no matter what the economy looks like, people gotta eat. Sure, in times of belt-tightening, you might cut back on the beluga caviar, but you’ll still want nutritious and low-cost foods such as bread, milk, meat and vegetables. Apparently, ETFs are on a “see food” diet.

Forget about what’s happening in the United States – the world’s population is growing, too. Population booms in emerging markets such as China and India mean, among other things, that there are more mouths than ever to feed.Corn4

By 2030, our planet will be home to 8.2 billion people. We’re going to be a hungrier bunch, too. The average caloric intake per person per day now is 2,600 calories. In the developed world, it’s even higher: 3,200 per day. The average worldwide food intake will climb to 3,000 calories a day by 2030.

(As an aside, no one needs to eat that much: it takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat. After a week or two of 3,200 per day, we hope you’ve left some money aside for new pants).

While your waistline might expand from all that extra food, the demand for agriculture could help related ETFs fatten up, too.