New Jersey’s food processing companies are largely optimistic about 2022, according to results from a survey by accounting firm Grassi and the New Jersey Food Processors Association released on March 18.
The second annual benchmarking analysis of food manufacturers was fielded by Crain Communications in January. It was designed to assess the state of the industry in New Jersey and New York, identify trends over the past 12 months, and gather the key industry opportunities and challenges for 2022.
“The survey results point to a resilient industry that is embracing opportunities to improve their businesses even in the face of ongoing business disruption,” said Michele Von Deak, executive director at NJFPA. “The insights uncovered by the survey paint a vivid picture of the health of the food and beverage sector in the region and offer key recommendations for its continued growth.”
Food processors weren’t without challenge in 2021, with 59% reporting that COVID outbreaks among workforce were among their biggest challenges. More than half (53%) said they were affected by supply chain disruption, 47% were affected by staff recruiting and retention, and 47% were affected by logistics/transportation disruptions.
The majority of companies responded to these challenges by improving customer relationships (68%), enhancing workplace safety (59%), focusing on online/digital platforms (59%), and developing new products and services (55%).
Optimistically, the survey’s 148 respondents revealed that they were more than twice as likely to report that revenues increased in 2021, rather than decreased. Just 3% foresee a decline in revenue in 2022, while two-thirds expect revenue growth.
Even among companies with flat or declining revenues, 51% plan to target new distribution channels as a growth strategy.
“We were thrilled to partner with NJFPA again this year to bring the food and beverage sector this valuable benchmarking tool,” said Robert Grote, Grassi’s manufacturing and distribution practice leader. “The findings are consistent with what we are seeing among our high-growth clients as we help them overcome challenges through streamlining processes, diversifying supply chains, expanding into new channels and other innovative strategies.”