Food Execs Expect Another Pandemic by 2025

Half expect one to occur within the next decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially disruptive to the food & beverage industry, causing impacts that range from shutting down meat factories last spring to major consumer demand swings that caused shortages of certain products and oversupply of others. 

This has also resulted in higher operating costs for many suppliers and has many of them reasoning their preparedness for the next pandemic, even as we’re still making our way through the current one.

This was evidenced by a new AIB International study of 325 senior level North American executives at leading food and beverage manufacturing companies, retailers, distributors and other supply chain partners. 

The survey’s findings were led by the stat that 30 percent of executives expect another global pandemic within the next four years, with 50 percent expecting one in the next decade. Meanwhile, 78 percent of them said they are actively preparing for the next global pandemic.

Other key findings from AIB’s study included:

61 percent of executives said their company didn’t have an adequate plan in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic when it began

Respondents from companies with revenue of less than 250 million dollars felt less prepared than larger companies for COVID-19.

76 percent of companies with annual revenue of at least $1 billion reported an increase in operating costs, compared to 62 percent of companies overall.

19 percent of companies have seen an increase in operating costs and a decrease in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, while another 43 percent have seen increased operating costs but no revenue decline.

Leadership from companies with higher annual revenues and those in food processing/manufacturing were more likely to believe another global pandemic will happen within the next four years.

The survey findings illustrate the level of pandemic unpreparedness felt throughout the food & beverage industry. But one would think that as these companies make their way through the remainder of COVID-19, they’ll continue to make action plans for a future pandemic. Because history has shown that it’s not a matter of if another pandemic will occur, but a matter of when.

More