The 2013 Food and Beverage Survey, conducted by New York-based KPMG LLP, reflects executives expect continued growth for the year ahead. Key to the industry’s continued success, these leaders believe leaps in technology that provide them new and better ways to do business.
"The food and beverage industry is experiencing significant change," according to Patrick Dolan, national line of business leader for consumer markets for KPMG.
"Technology is redefining how companies identify growth opportunities, operate their businesses, and manage risk, and the companies that adopt and utilize these tools most effectively are positioned to capitalize on improving business conditions," he added.
Research by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) cites augmented reality, intelligent in-store monitoring, sensor tags and other technological tools as growth drivers. Ginny Smith, senior communications director for GMA, told FoodProductionDaily.com such innovations can help processors and brand owners understand shoppers and build loyalty.
“Growth comes, in part, from better knowing and understanding your consumers and being able to deliver on and exceed their expectations, which is greatly enabled by technology,” she said.
Communication is key
Among the top technology impacting the food and beverage market, respondents in the KPMG survey said, relate to communication. Social media, mobile/online consumer engagement and mobile/online promotions and coupons are the top-ranking tech-related trends they believe are having the strongest impact on their businesses.
“Companies must better understand these tech-savvy consumers to successfully navigate this landscape and capitalize on the resulting opportunities,” Dolan said.
Industry executives believe data and analytics can help fuel growth. Despite this realization, however, 46% rate their own capabilities in the area as average or below.
Overall, most food and beverage leaders (81%) are confident they’ll see their bottom lines grow in the next 12 months. Growth drivers cited include product innovations, taking on new customers and alternative sales channels.
Regarding spending habits, more than half anticipate capital spending will increase. Potential investment areas include acquisitions, facility expansion, new products/services and IT.