Food, Beverage Firms Plan for the Next Pandemic

Nearly 50% of executives surveyed say they aren’t prepared to weather another global outbreak.

May 07, 2021

Woman Checking Food Storage

MANHATTAN, Kan.—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.”

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including information about how to educate employees about the vaccines and other vaccine-related human resources advice. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.