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Highlights of the Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights 2021 Whitepaper

Highlights of the Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights 2021 Whitepaper

Highlights of the Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights 2021 Whitepaper

Oct 11, 2021

John McCurdy
A team collaborates and looks over key metrics.

At Aptean, our forward-thinking mindset and proactive approach to doing business encourages us to stay in-tune with the latest developments, market shifts and trends in the food and beverage industry. To be as prepared as possible to confront the challenges of tomorrow, we commissioned the International Data Corporation (IDC) to conduct a survey of leaders and produce the Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights 2021 whitepaper.

More than 700 respondents from 13 countries across North American, Latin American, European and Asia Pacific regions participated in the survey. They represented a variety of food and beverage businesses, with the majority being medium-sized (revenue between $100 million and $1 billion) food manufacturers, processors and distributors, and were split between senior executive and junior supply chain operator roles.

The questions in the study covered critical features of today’s food and beverage landscape, including supply chain concerns, sustainability, consumer demands, digital transformation and more. Many intriguing insights can be gleaned from the results, and we’ve chosen to highlight three of the key findings with this post.

The Need To Be Prepared for Disruptions

With the major global disruptions brought on in the past 18 months by the COVID-19 pandemic still fresh in the minds of food and beverage leaders, their focus on being prepared for the next wave of challenges was very clear in their responses. Unpredictable supply and demand, pressure to become more sustainable, changing consumer preferences and labor shortages were among the top concerns.

Here are just a few telling statistics to consider:

  • Changes in consumer demands and preferences was selected as the most impactful development for the food industry over the next 5 years, with 45% of respondents picking that option

  • Future global disruption was identified as the top threat for the next 5 years (43% of respondents), but an increasingly disruptive marketplace was also a popular choice (38%)

  • Sustainability was the most frequently chosen among trends that businesses will focus on over the next year, with 39% indicating it as a top priority

These indications, as well as the many uncertainties stemming from the dynamic nature of the food and beverage marketplace, underpin the need for businesses to remain agile and adaptable going forward. Technology, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, will play a big role in keeping organizations up-to-date and delivering excellent products and service no matter the circumstances.

The Correlation Between Digital Transformation and Positive Results

Simply put, food and beverage companies that are further along in their digitization and modernization initiatives perform better. Those organizations that have progressed in their digital transformations to a level of greater maturity are seeing real results in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) and overall outcomes.

These are some of the most telling metrics on this front:

  • Approximately 80% of all respondents reported improvements in KPIs across all of the business areas surveyed as a result of their digital transformation efforts

  • Businesses utilizing cloud deployment for their solutions were even more likely to see gains, with the percentage of respondents indicating improvement on KPIs between 8 and 18% higher, depending on the indicator

  • Companies with ERP systems in place saw increases in revenue (3.3% for cloud implementations, 1.7% for on-premise) and profits (3.9% for cloud, 2.7% for on-premise)

Such results further hammer home how crucial technological advancement is in the ever-evolving industry that is food and beverage. Most food and beverage companies are moving away from manual, paper-based record keeping methods and with increasing frequency selecting purpose-built platforms and cloud deployment to thrive in such a competitive and fast-moving ecosystem.

The Crucial Importance of the Supply Chain

With just about every food and beverage business experiencing some form of delays or disruptions over the past 18 months, proper management of supply chains has become a pressing issue. So much rides on having a healthy supply chain—from traceability and visibility to sustainable sourcing—and that means there are few more critical concerns for an organization.

Consider the following figures as proof:

  • The top three focuses for risk mitigation were food safety/traceability (37%), sustainability (34%) and overall supply chain visibility (31%)

  • Limited visibility across operations was the most frequently selected as a primary barrier to digital transformation

  • When asked to rate the importance of traceability, 72% of respondents indicated high importance to overall business performance and strategy

From production downtime to product recalls, the costs of errors along the supply chain can be significant, which further emphasizes that good stewardship and a high level of transparency and accessibility of data is necessary for success. Whether it’s through automated data capture, integrating with smart devices or embracing mobile solutions, technology makes the matter much more manageable.

It All Comes Back to Consumers

Not to discount the compliance demands of regulatory bodies and governments around the world, but consumers and their changing expectations are the driving force behind the shifts in the food and beverage industry. Between delivering the products consumers desire and providing them via the most popular channels, businesses like yours absolutely must align your efforts with customer preferences.

Indeed, IDC predicts that over the next decade, 90% of industry growth will be captured by companies that engage directly with consumers. That illustrates the need for flexibility and innovation—which means you must have the right technology in place to reliably deliver on the value you promise.

There are even more worthwhile statistics and insights in the full whitepaper, which is available for free download here. Complete breakdowns of participant respondents based on role, maturity level and region are captured in great detail and provide food for thought that can’t be found elsewhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about Aptean and the best-in-class food and beverage solutions we provide, reach out to us today to learn more.

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