Food and Beverage Industry Trends to Expect Throughout 2021

2020 has been a challenging year for the global food and beverage industry. As the pandemic continues to impact the sector, small and large businesses are forced to re-evaluate their strategies, modify supply chain processes, and automate inventory operations.

Moreover, the consumer demand has also dramatically transformed, making it tricky for businesses to balance supply forces amidst lockdown and closure notices. To battle the trials of supply chain commotion and market fluctuation, many firms have turned to tech tools for help for enhanced resilience, effectiveness, and adaptability.

Recommended Read: How To Keep Your Food Business Going During The Coronavirus

While economic turmoil, price fluctuations, shortage of raw material, and transportation barriers are debilitating challenges for the sector, the pandemic has added to these challenges.

The global crisis has altered and even reversed some standard practices in the food sector. It has accelerated local demands, creating a need to design new business strategies from scratch.

In this blog, we’re discussing some of the highly anticipated trends in the food and beverage industry for 2021.

1. The Rise of JIC in Place of JIT

Food and beverage suppliers and customers faced a major “Out-of-stock (OIC)” challenge amidst the pandemic. This led to enhanced fragility and market sensitivity, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.

For many decades, the food and beverage industry worked on releasing maximum inventory out of the system in the shortest possible time.

This is called the Just-in-Time (JIT) model that helped them boost immediate delivery of goods to the buyers without switching to another supplier.

Now we’re seeing a drastic shift from the Just-in-Time (JIT) to the Just-in-Case (JIC) business model. With the adverse impact of fire and water scarcity in Australia last year, the agri-sector is likely to be restrained by imminent supply and trade shocks. Thus, the JIT approach has been problematic for many ventures because of massive changes in production and supply chain plans.

Recommended Read: Social Distancing, Quarantine And The Role Of Technology In Keeping Food Services Running

Using the JIC model, value chain participants are convinced to hold more inventories in their warehouses to meet the market’s sudden requirements. It helps them steer clear of unforeseen events that cause demand splurges.

2. The Status Quo: Rising Ecommerce Usage

The food and beverage industry has one distinguishing feature that sets it apart from all other sectors: the quick inventory flow from the manufacturing to the distribution channels.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the global food ecommerce will cross over $6.6 trillion by 2025! Moreover, online sales will make up over 20% of the total food and beverage sales globally.

To mitigate the risk of customer dissatisfaction, food business owners will align their processes to meet demands ASAP. There’s also a remarkable rise in online purchase behaviour, which calls for immediate deliveries.

Food and drinks are perishable goods with shorter shelf lives. After all, no customer would like to pay for a food product with a close expiration date, right? Therefore, whether you’re a manufacturer or operating a fast-food chain in the food retail sector, you have to leverage ecommerce to get ahead of the competition.

Newer trends direct towards digital disruption, online marketing, and ecommerce selling for continued growth in the food and drink industry.

3. The Need for Efficiency

You’ll notice that all of the trends we’ve mentioned in this blog converge at one single point: efficiency. Your modern customer is loaded with information. Newer products, vendors, and process tools increase their power to bargain, switch, choose an alternative, or demand more innovation.

In other words, as a food business owner, you’ll have to optimize your inventory and order delivery system to deal with the customers’ information overload. In 2021 and beyond, you’ll see food manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers working hastily to maintain accuracy, transparency, and product quality to deal with varying forces of supply and demand.

ERP tools are an efficient way to manage time, resources, and costs in the food and beverage industry. They keep your operation running smoothly and reduce data entry time, storage security threats, and inefficiency.

An ERP tool isn’t just helpful in smoothly running your biz. It’s also a distinctive feature that gives you a competitive edge in the market.

In 2021, we’ll be seeing more ERP implementation in the food sector. Current ecommerce businesses are expected to integrate their stores with ERP software to optimize customer purchase cycles. When you combine your e-commerce platform with an ERP, the latter manages customer info while focusing on other vital tasks such as order management, inventory control, and payments.

4. Automated Inventory and Order Management Solutions

The critical inventory operations mentioned below are the blood and soul of food and beverage businesses:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Quantity management
  • Scheduling, rescheduling, canceling orders
  • Anticipating inventory needs for the future

All of these tasks, and more, cost the industry over $100 billion annually. Cutting-edge AI firms and OMS tools like OrderTron are helping restaurant owners, food suppliers, and distributors cut their costs and food waste.

According to a B2B future shopper report, 35% of the total online procurements in the pre-COVID phase jumped to 37% after the pandemic struck. Deploying an order placement and management software is imperative to efficiently and sustainably run your food business in this challenging time.

Projections for 2021 direct towards partnerships that’ll allow businesses to save time and money, with sustainability at the center of the global agenda.

5. Transparency and Sustainability will Triumph

Early in the pandemic, there was a lot of scrutiny surrounding the food and beverage industry to detect potential outbreaks. As a result, consumers have become more critical about their food and beverage consumption choices. A recent research also suggests that food companies need to increase sustainability practices if they wish to flourish for the next 30 years.

Businesses operating in the sector are likely to face stricter compliance codes and food safety protocols to make processes and products safer for consumption.  

Recommended Read: Online Order Management — Why It’s The Future Of B2b Businesses

According to a report published by Innova Market Insights, transparency in the food and drink supply chain will dominate 2021. Customers have become more interested in adopting cleaner and greener food choices regarding quality, packaging, and sustainability.

In addition to transparency, the food sector is also expected to deploy end-to-end blockchain procedures to enhance traceability in logistics and supply chain models.

6. Industry 4.0 adoption

IoT and Industry 4.0 has been around for quite some time, but food sector participants have essentially stuck to conventional practices. They’ve been slow in adopting technological changes and aligning their daily operations with modern tools.

But as the global outlook of the food and beverage industry changes, reports show that food manufacturers are convinced to prioritize tech more than ever. This will enable them to monitor their business performance and detect errors by leveraging data intelligence, safety, quality, and superior analytics.

7. Lower Tolerance for Food Waste

Stats show that food waste in Australia amounts to nearly $20 billion each year, which equals to approximately 7.3 billion tonnes of food. Considering the increasing consumer awareness and pressing economic issues, consumers want to see less food go to waste. They’re more mindful of disposal and consumption practices.

While food waste is commonly associated with the cooked food that goes in the trash at restaurants and eateries, blemished and low-quality produce makes up the other half of the total waste. Suppliers often face rejection from clients due to transportation over-dues and mishaps. Deploying an automated order placement tool can help you avoid this nuisance by keeping your produce fresh and intact and mitigating the risk of unnecessary fulfilment delays.

Benefits of Order Management Software for Food and Beverage Businesses

The OMS technology can help food and beverage businesses monitor and track inventory using a cloud system. With a robust inventory management solution, you can:

  • Optimise food safety and can mitigate health risks
  • Control and manage orders, scheduling, and client relationships for accelerated revenue
  • Work towards process safety and efficiency by reducing waste
  • Ensure timely transportation of goods to ensure that they reach your end-consumer fresh and ripe
  • Boost transit and supply quality to reduce costs

Moreover, inventory management systems can also obtain information from suppliers, vendors, and clients in real-time. This ensures enhanced visibility and shipment tracking to overcome under or overstock issues. Capitalizing on online wholesale ordering systems such as OrderTron allows small companies and autonomous wholesalers to meet and exceed retail client requirements. It also allows them to enjoy a bigger market share and an edge over competing businesses.

Recommended Read: Reasons Why You Should Consider A B2b Ordering Management System

Deploy the Best Order Management Software for Optimising Your Food Business

OrderTron is an order management software designed to enhance your food business’s performance, whether you’re a supplier or a customer.

Our solution offers an efficient online ordering feature, wholesale food distribution, and a mobile app for convenient order placement and tracking.

To learn more about OrderTron and how it can help your business, contact us today.

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