Most food and beverage companies anticipate a significant increase in sales this year, for the third consecutive year, according to the “Mazars 2018 Food & Beverage Industry Study Results Report,” released by Mazars USA LLP, New York.

2018 was projected to be a very strong year of growth for the food and beverage industry, with 90% of survey respondents expecting growth in sales, 84% in profit and 69% in employment. The factors most likely to influence sales growth were new customers, improved sales performance and new products, which remain virtually unchanged from 2017. The top trends predicted to drive sales growth are private label foods, healthy/nutritious foods and organic foods. The top internal concern for participants was increasing sales, with the top external concerns being rising commodity costs, food safety/traceability, and quality assurance.

"The dynamic nature of the food and beverage industry continues to challenge organizations looking for growth," says Howard Dorman, partner and leader of the food and beverage practice. "Through this survey, we're pleased to provide executives with comprehensive insight into potential industry drivers and best practices to stay ahead of the competition."

The survey delved into performance, planning and challenges facing food and beverage companies, as well as addressing how they are adapting to changing consumer trends, tax changes, new companies entering the field and new product and service offerings. Responses were sorted by organization size. Survey participants included manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors, restaurateurs and retailers/supermarkets representing a range of annual sales volumes from $1 million or less to more than $500 million.