2015 US Food & Beverage Industry Study

WeiserMazars in conjunction with The Food Institute, AFI and Stagnito Business Information, is pleased to present the findings of the 3rd edition of our annual survey devoted to the US Food & Beverage industry. This initiative has been carried out with the aim of offering to Food & Beverage decision-makers benchmarks against which to assess 2014 performance, insights into potential drivers for the industry in 2015, and best practices to stay ahead of the competition today and tomorrow.

To conduct this survey, WeiserMazars issued an online questionnaire to Food & Beverage executives questioning them on industry predictions, trends, key challenges and their strategies and priorities for the near future. Where applicable, the study separates the responses of small and large firms, affording more nuanced insights. For this latest edition, a specific focus has been done on the impact of e-commerce.

According to our panel, 2015 was projected to be a significant year for the Food & Beverage industry, with most respondents expecting growth in sales, profit and employment. The factors most likely to influence sales growth were new customers, improved sales performance and new products. The top trends predicted to drive sales growth are different for large and small firms - – with small firms expecting private label foods to have the biggest impact, and large firms expecting locally grown/produced foods to have the most importance. The top internal concern for participants was increasing sales and the top external concerns were food safety/traceability and quality assurance. A majority of participants did not expect to increase prices in response to the new FDA menu labelling requirements.

Key findings:

Participants anticipate better financial performance in 2015

92% of participants anticipated increased sales in 2015. Among the firms who predicted an increase in sales, the average sales increase was expected to be 18%.

Better financial performance is spurring investments in labor

61% of participants anticipated increased employment, with an average estimated increase of 13%

A majority of respondents expect labor costs and health care costs to grow modestly in 2015

61% of respondents predicted an increase in labor costs over 2014, with an expected average increase of 7%. 56% of respondents predicted an increase over 2014 in health care costs, with the expected average increase being 12%. 36% of respondents predicted an increase over 2014 in commodity prices, with the expected average increase being 8%.

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