Mazars USA, a leading accounting and consulting firm in Edison, released its 2017 Food and Beverage Industry Study this week in order to help build and share knowledge critical to the growth of the industry within the state.
The firm, which provides specialized expertise for more than 200 food and beverage manufacturers, distributors, restaurants and importers, worked with iLumen, an independent research firm, to gather information from both small and large businesses within the industry.
More than 80 percent of participating businesses anticipated increased sales this year, with an average estimated increase of 21 percent.
Nearly 60 percent anticipated increased employment, with an average estimated increase of 14 percent.
More than 70 percent indicated there would be no change in facilities, acquisitions, or research and development spending.
Nearly 60 percent expected commodity prices to remain the same, while 36 percent expected price decreases.
The Top 3 trends predicted to drive sales growth this year were healthy and nutritious foods; “free from” foods including allergen-free, gluten-free and non-GMO; and the increase of private label foods.
Top industry concerns included food safety and quality assurance, the effectiveness of food marketing, and rising costs.
Therefore, most businesses were focused on increasing sales, improving operations, improving their supply chain, creating compliance procedures for new legislation, and implementing succession plans.
Surprisingly, though many of the participants were food manufacturers, participants were least concerned with recruitment and employee retention.
The businesses surveyed ranged in size and revenue, with more than 50 percent reporting sales less than $50 million and fewer than 100 employees. Nearly 22 percent reported sales less than $1 million, while just nine percent reported sales of more than $500 million.