WeiserMazars along with the Food Institute, Association of Food Industries and Stagnito Media is currently conducting the 2015 Food & Beverage Industry Study. Preliminary findings from early participants are presented below.
Section I: Summary
2015 is projected to be a significant year for the Food & Beverage industry, with the majority of respondents expecting double digit growth in sales, profit and employment. Most of the projected growth is expected to be from improved sales force performance and new customers, while healthy/nutritious food, ethnic/international food and private label food also continue to be major drivers. The majority of study participants are planning on undertaking process improvement activities in 2015. The new labeling requirements from the FDA are not likely to translate to increased prices and e-commerce is not expected to comprise a significant percentage of either sales or purchases by the participating companies.
Section II: Industry Growth
Participants overwhelmingly anticipate better financial performance in 2015
91 percent of participants anticipated an increase in sales in 2015. 81 percent anticipated an increase in net profits. The median increase in sales across all participants was 10 percent, with an average expected increase of 17 percent. Net profit was projected to increase by 10 percent (median) with an average increase of 15 percent.
Better financial performance is spurring investment
59 percent of participants anticipate an increase in employment. Although a majority of respondents indicated no change in facilities and acquisitions, those that anticipated an increase in these investments projected a significant rise over 2014.
- Employment – Median increase of 10 percent projected over 2014
- Facilities – Median increase of 20 percent projected over 2014
- Acquisitions – Median increase of 10 percent projected over 2014
A majority expect labor costs to grow in 2015
59 percent of respondents anticipate an increase in labor costs. There was an almost even split between those predicting and increase versus no change in commodity pricing, while a significant majority expected no change in R&D spending. Overall healthcare costs are expected to increase in 2015.
- Labor Costs – Median increase of 4 percent projected over 2014
- Commodity Prices – Median increase of 5 percent projected over 2014
- R&D Spending – Median increase of 10 percent projected over 2014
- Healthcare Costs – Median increase of 10 percent projected over 2014
Factors Influencing Sales Growth
Survey respondents projected a 17 percent average increase in sales in 2015. The top ranked factor likely to influence sales growth was improved sales performance, followed by new customers. New products and increased awareness were also cited.
Respondents were also asked to rank the top food trends, with healthy/nutritious foods taking the top spot, followed by ethnic/international and private label foods.
Factors Most Likely to Influence Sales Growth (size relative to ranking)
Ranking of Food Trends Influencing Sales Growth
Section III: Operations
The most common operations strategies either already underway or planned are process-improvement activities (32 percent of study participants), leadership succession and major software implementation (both at 24 percent).
Operations Strategies for 2015
The majority of participants (62 percent) did not anticipate raising prices in response to the FDA’s new labeling requirements, 29 percent were undecided, and 9 percent anticipated raising prices.
E-commerce did not seem to significantly affect the companies in the study – not making up any portion of the sales of 38 percent of respondents, while it accounted for less than 10 percent of sales for fully 52 percent of participating organizations. Only 2 percent of respondents make more than 30 percent of sales from e-commerce. 83 percent stated that less than 10 percent of their purchases are made online. As such, e-commerce is not expected to significantly impact sales and purchases in 2015.
Look for final findings and analysis to be released by WeiserMazars later this year.