Nearly Half of F&B companies are thriving and growing

McGladrey's fifth annual spring Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution Survey of 1,061 leaders, who were asked to provide upcoming strategies to grow profitability for their companies, found that the Food and Beverage industry leads all other industry segments when it comes to weathering the economic downturn, with 49 percent of respondents indicating their companies are "thriving and growing."

Among McGladrey's 2010 Food and Beverage Report findings: Ninety-one percent of Food and Beverage respondents report being "very optimistic" or "somewhat optimistic" about growth prospects for their companies, a 20 percentage point rise from the 2009 survey; When compared to all industries, Food and Beverage companies are more aggressive about introducing new products and analyzing customer/product profitability; The percentage of companies that say working globally is part of their business strategy rose from 64 percent in 2009 to 75 percent this year; This year, 16 percent say they will invest $10 million or more in capital projects (up 10 percentage points from 2009); Two-thirds of the respondents expect price jumps in raw materials and energy; and Because Food and Beverage companies weathered the recession better than most industries, their hiring needs over the next year are not as great. However, companies that are hiring are seeing skill shortages for entry-level, supervisory, quality control, sales and warehouse workers.