Most food and beverage companies are confident this will be a year of growth for their company — 79% expect to generate more revenue this year than they did last year, and 77% anticipate a profit boost, according to Aptean’s latest Food and Beverage 2024 Trends and Outlook for North America.
The report, based on a survey of 200 processors, manufacturers, and distributors, delves into how these companies plan to grow in 2023, what challenges they’re facing, and how they’re preparing for what’s around the corner.
Rising inflation and material costs are top of mind for more than four in 10 food and beverage companies, followed by higher operating costs (31%), changing consumer demands and preferences (27%), and material and ingredient availability (26%).
Many companies are turning to automation to achieve growth amid these challenges. Nine in 10 companies Aptean surveyed were undergoing a digital transformation. And that move is paying off — the average rate of growth for companies that automated tasks and processes was 20% higher than those that stuck with manual operations.
Cloud ERP adoption in the industry jumped from 7% in 2021 to 24% this year, and the percentage of companies that don’t plan to switch to a cloud system dropped from 62% to 16% over the same period. In addition, 39% of companies are already implementing or using artificial intelligence (AI) to better analyze data and inform their decision-making, while 29% said they’re investing in this area.
Other highlights from the report include:
- To help build supply chain resilience, most (65%) of companies have added new suppliers over the last 12 months, and 30% plan to do so next year.
- The majority of respondents (84%) are working toward becoming more sustainable, most commonly for the purpose of improving their efficiency (44%), health and safety (37%), and competitive advantage (31%).
- More than 70% of companies have upskilled their current workforce to tackle skills shortages, and 60% have used technology to minimize knowledge loss.
For a more in-depth look at how food and beverage companies are overcoming industry challenges and setting themselves up for growth, download Aptean’s full report.