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Almost 80% of Food and Beverage Executives Are Already Preparing for Next Pandemic

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(iStock/Sergio Lacueva)

The COVID-19 pandemic is waning, but could there be another coronavirus crisis on the horizon? Get this: 30% of food and beverage executives expect another global pandemic by 2025, according to a new study by AIB International.

The Manhattan, Kan.-based food and beverage consultant found that 78% of food and beverage executives say they are actively preparing for a future global pandemic, with 30% expecting another one within the next four years and 50% expecting one within the next decade.

AIB International commissioned the study to better understand the impact of the pandemic on the food and beverage manufacturing sector and assess preparedness for future pandemics. The study surveyed 325 senior-level North American executives at leading food and beverage manufacturing companies, retailers, distributors, and other supply chain partners.

Here are other key findings:

State of Preparedness

• 61% of respondents said their companies did not have an adequate plan in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic when it began.

• 62% of respondents said they were not “very prepared” to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This included 83% of respondents from the retail industry, 57% of respondents from processing/manufacturing and 66% from packaging, storage and distribution, import/export and other.

• Respondents from companies with revenue of less than $250 million felt less prepared than larger companies for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impacts of the Pandemic

• 76% of companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more reported an increase in operating costs, compared to 62% of companies overall.

• 19% of companies realized an increase in operating costs and a decrease in revenue, while another 43% saw an increase in operating costs and no decline in revenue.

• 33% of companies saw a decrease in revenue, and among those the average decrease was 27%.

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