5 Trends That Will Define Food Production in 2023

2022 has been (yet another) challenging year for the food industry. Geopolitical conflict, extreme weather events and soaring costs have squeezed profit margins. How have these macro uncertainties impacted food and beverage companies’ priorities? What will define food production over the next 12 months? And how can you prepare your business for new influences?

To answer these questions, we wanted to draw on real market insight. That’s why Aptean commissioned IDC to survey more than 650 food and beverage companies. IDC then turned these insights into a new whitepaper: Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights 2022.

Keep reading to discover the six most important findings from this market research. Or you can jump straight to our full industry outlook for a deeper analysis.

Trend 1: Good People Will Be Hard to Find

What’s happening?

Labour shortages have been a major challenge for the food industry in 2022. What’s worse, the situation won’t be changing any time soon. Lack of talent will be the biggest transformation barrier for 35% of companies in 2023. That’s a 15% increase in twelve months.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Talent shortages give your business an opportunity to rethink your infrastructure. Automating tasks and processes can reduce employee headcounts. It will also help you to attract a younger, digitally-savvy workforce.

How are food companies solving recruitment issues through technology? Download our full report for the answer.


Trend 2: Digital Transformation is Coming of Age

What’s happening?

Digital transformation is no longer a future goal: it’s an urgent priority. 99% of food manufacturers, producers and distributors are transforming their operations. And 45% are already seeing KPI improvements from digital optimization projects.

What does this mean for your organisation?

You need an up-to-date digital transformation strategy. Now’s the time to review your current software and plan your next project. If you’re unsure of what to do next, focus on the parts of your business that could benefit most from automation.

What are food companies’ five biggest concerns for the next five years? Download our full report to find out.


Trend 3: Efficiency Will Offset Rising Costs

What’s happening?

Material and energy costs are rising. To counteract external pressures, a third of food companies want to prioritise operational improvements in 2023.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Your digital transformation strategy needs to focus on driving efficiency. Invest in technologies that will help you to work profitably—from optimising stock to reducing waste.

Choosing a technology partner that understands your business priorities is pivotal to driving change. This very subject came up at our 2022 Global Food and Beverage Symposium in conversation with Yorck Haase, IT Director for R.L. Schreiber.

“We hear lots of industry buzzwords like “digital transformation”…it definitely makes us want to explore those areas, but we don’t necessarily know how,” Haase and session moderator, Bill Macek discussed. “Before we even talk about the “how” we’re talking about the “what”. We’re getting into identifying critical business goals, pain points and process improvement targets that we want to dovetail with our strategic business objectives and technology roadmap.”

Read the full recap of Aptean’s 2022 Global Food and Beverage Symposium.


Trend 4: Supply Networks Need Strengthening

What’s happening?

Supply chains are still many companies’ Achilles Heel. 3 in 10 food firms say supply chain visibility and flexibility is a major weak point for their business.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Traceability is key to increasing supply chain resilience, as is effective demand planning and inventory management. Integrate your business software to track material requirements and optimize production from beginning to end.

For a deeper dive into this area, download our whitepaper: The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility and the Technologies that Power It.


Trend 5: More Companies Will Outsource

What’s happening?

Food manufacturers, producers and distributors are outsourcing tasks to scale their business. Three-quarters of companies now outsource at least part of their production.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Outsourcing works best when you totally trust your partner. Shared processing and data insights will help you to work closely with contractors. Your goal is to increase production capacity without compromising on quality.