Week-over-week statistics from Clear Seas Research show food and beverage manufacturers have shifted their attention from future business goals to immediate employee welfare and current economic factors impacting their operations. Research conducted in late March showed 73% of those polled were concerned about achieving their business goals the next six months. Research conducted in early April saw that number drop to 53%. 

During that time, concern for the current economy rose from 78% to 80%, and worries about friends and family becoming infected by COVID-19 went from 64% to 72%, while interest in supply chain interruptions dropped from 66% to 53%.

From a staffing standpoint, 89% of F&B manufacturers polled are promoting social distancing more than they were in late March (up from 86%) as well as reducing employee travel (72%, up from 69%) requiring staff to work from home (48%, up from 38%) and eliminating face-to-face meetings (76%). Those providing COVID-19 protective gear to employees also rose from 43% to 50%.

From an overall business standpoint, most F&B manufacturers polled say they are on schedule with active and planned business, with 14% reporting an increase in business spending. 

85% of those polled categorize their operations as essential businesses, which would explain the current shift toward employee health and welfare, since those frontline workers are needed to help meet tremendous demand in the F&B supply chain for refrigerated, frozen, and packaged foods. Business is thriving in F&B manufacturing, but without a healthy staff, it will be difficult to meet increased orders for products.

For a deeper dive into metrics from the Clear Seas F&B Manufacturing Business Outlook, click here to download the entire report. 

Click here for more COVID-19 coverage and how it is affecting the refrigerated and frozen foods industry.