FOOD, BEVERAGE FIRMS PLAN FOR THE NEXT PANDEMIC

Nearly 50% of executives surveyed say they aren’t prepared to weather another global outbreak. More than three-fourths of North American beverage and food senior executives have plans in place for the next global pandemic, according to a new study by AIB International, Food Business News reports.

The survey found that 78% of food and beverage executives have made preparations for future pandemics.

“Even after the past year of disruption, almost half of respondents indicated they are still not adequately prepared with a plan for the future,” said Anne Coulter, managing director of Research Strategy Group, which conducted the survey for AIB International.

“Combined with the fact that 30% believe another pandemic will occur in next four years—and a full 50% say within the next 10 years—that lack of preparedness is startling. Further, 62% of respondents experienced an increase in operating costs due to the pandemic, while the average increase among these companies was 20%.”

Sixty-one percent of survey respondents said their business was unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic when it started last year. In addition, 62% of respondents indicated they weren’t “very prepared” to handle the pandemic, including 83% of respondents from the retail industry, 57% of respondents from processing/manufacturing and 66% from packaging, storage and distribution, import/export and other.

“Despite the understandable ‘crisis fatigue’ from grappling with COVID-19 over the past year, it’s clear that now is the time to prepare for the future and elevate critical planning to a best-in-class standard,” said Steve Robert, global vice president of product innovation at AIB International. “Should a future pandemic occur, improved preparedness will help offset some of the costs and disruption that so many operations have realized over the past year.”