Goldbeck Recruiting, a globally connected executive search firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia has interviewed industry professionals across the continent and conducted an official poll of members of the US and Canadian Angus Reid Forum.

Goldbeck Recruiting President Henry Goldbeck said:

“Food producers have been through a lot over the past few months because of COVID-19 and they’re taking a closer look at export markets in the Americas. Through our network, we’re seeing food manufacturers pivot from globalized supply chains to what we’ve been calling around our office ‘post-pandemic continentalization’.”

Boost for locally produced goods

Across Canada, 82% of respondents reported they were much more likely to purchase locally produced or sourced goods; across the United States, 65% of respondents reported the same.

Segmented, 41% (45% CA, 37% US) of respondents valued locally produced vegetables, while 24% (27% CA, 21% US) of respondents preferred locally produced poultry and meat, and 17% (13% CA, 22% US) of respondents favour locally grown fruit.

The viability of locally produced foods is bolstered by respondents’ disinterest in the lack of product options in the long term, with only 23% of Canadians and 38% of Americans reporting concern in that regard. This represents incentive for producers to embrace an e-commerce approach to service domestic and even hyper-local markets.

A case for deep-rooted corporate social responsibility

Additionally, 64% (64% CA, 64% US) of respondents noted they are more likely to support companies that avoided layoffs, and 74% (74% CA, 73% US) responded favourably to companies that have prioritized the safety of their employees and their food production.

This represents a bright spot in transparency marketing; companies responsibly managing safety protocols can maximize positive impacts on public sentiment, perhaps swaying purchasing decisions. Emphasizing how the industry has adapted to our new circumstances can lead to greater consumer trust which could have rippling implications for market shares at the retail level.

From a labour management perspective, Henry Goldbeck posited:

“As food manufacturers invest in safety and automation, we’re seeing increased demand for operations and production managers to oversee these transformations. In the sales sector for equipment manufacturers, there is a lot of value being placed on communications as reps find themselves acting as crucial conduits to food processors and their evolving requirements.”

Taking things into our own hands; Cooking from home is here to stay

Lastly, the retail market (either via traditional distribution centres or via e-commerce) represents a fertile market percentage, as both Americans and Canadians are now cooking more at home than they did before the pandemic, and intend to continue to cook more at home well into the future.

59% of respondents noted that they prepared more food at home; with 66% of American respondents and 53% of Canadian respondents favouring home-cooked meals (though this was not true of Alberta or Quebec).

Further, most respondents plan to spend the same (41%) (43% CA, 38% US) or less (46%) (46% CA, 45% US) on food prepared outside the home going forward.

This means consumers will continue purchasing more groceries and, perhaps, investing more in locally sourced groceries rather than spending at food service sites. Investigating the viability of a direct-to-consumer facet of business may become increasingly valuable as we move forward as a community into our new normal, knowing full well that we may see further lockdowns.

Read more about the Goldbeck Recruiting Food Report here.

Media and additional data inquiries: Bailey Jelinski, bailey@roseagency.com.