Happy New Year! As we enter 2023, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what the year will bring, especially for the economy and its impact on consumers’ budgets. But as they say, “the best defense is a good offense!” The food and beverage companies that fare the best this year will be the ones that proactively address today’s challenges with an eye toward setting themselves up for long-term success.
To help you do that, here are our top pieces of content from 2022 that offer insights to help you make good business decisions in 2023.
Technology and the digital transformation
Pandemic-driven challenges like heightened demand and labor shortages have prompted companies to rethink their operations and make technology a priority. We asked representatives across the food industry about their companies’ attitudes toward digital technologies, the most valuable software solutions, and the biggest industry challenges.
If there’s one thing that really can’t be done digitally, it’s eat. But that isn’t stopping food companies from establishing their places in the metaverse. Food brands, including CPG companies, quick-service restaurants, and their suppliers, are starting to explore what the metaverse has to offer in the way of reaching and engaging with customers.
Consumers are coping with inflation in a variety of ways, including sticking to strict food budgets, switching to cheaper foods, and eating food that has passed its expiration date.
Current economic conditions are leading consumers to look for ways to save money. At the same time, values like nutrition and sustainability remain top-of-mind. As Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2023 reveal, to appeal to these consumers, food and beverage brands need to find a way to balance these competing priorities.
A good deal of time, energy, and money has been dedicated to figuring out what companies can do to attract and retain the workforce they need to meet the demands of the market. And the answer is that there’s not an easy answer. But there are several ways companies can both close their existing talent gaps and put themselves into a better position for the future.
The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life on the job—that’s more than ten years. After all that time, it’s natural that employees feel their identities are tied up in work. Helping employees align their values with their jobs starts with a mindset that working with purpose benefits both employee and company. Employers who support their employees see significantly improved morale, increased retention, and boosts in productivity.
Consumers and investors feel better about purchasing from and investing in companies that utilize environmentally-responsible measures in bringing their product to market. According to a recent AFLAC study, 55% of consumers believe it’s important for companies to take a stand on key social, environmental, and political issues, and 73% of investors agree that a company’s efforts to help improve society and the environment contribute positively to stockholder investment return.
In a study of 350 of the world’s largest food and agriculture companies, many big food companies were found to be “failing dismally” on key ESG issues, including climate change and human rights. Of the 350 companies studied, only 26 are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 309 aren’t doing enough to eliminate forced labor, and 201 aren’t prioritizing healthy foods. As an industry, we still have a long way to go.
The finalization of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Rule 204(d) is rapidly approaching. In November 2022, a key piece of FSMA will come into play for many manufacturers. Known as the Food Traceability Proposed Rule, the goal of 204 is to create visibility within the supply chain to enable a better response to foodborne illnesses, contamination, and other public health and safety issues.
Improvements in instrumentation and testing methodology mean that scientists can now measure ever-decreasing concentrations of PFAS. Detection limits now hover in the parts-per-trillion or per-quadrillion range, which approximates the ability to detect a drop of water in Lake Michigan. These new limits of detection, combined with studies linking harms to increasingly lower PFAS concentrations, mean that many manufacturers, especially those in the food and beverage industry, are facing new concerns about whether and how to test for PFAS.