South West food and beverage firms kick on post-pandemic
Despite the inescapable challenges brought about by the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, nearly three-quarters (72%) of food and beverage businesses in the Southwest are feeling positive for the future, according to new research by PR agency Grayling.
The research conducted through Taste of the West reveals that many businesses are now reporting growth in revenue since the pandemic. Almost half (42%) of businesses grew by more than 20% since 2020, with only 10% staying at the same revenue. Businesses surveyed were part of the hospitality, retail, catering, farming and food production sectors, with 85% being independent businesses.
The main pressure points faced by businesses in the last year are soaring energy prices (34%), increased food production costs (29%) and labour shortages (20%). When asked what would have the biggest positive impact on their business, respondents said inflation going down (50%) and energy prices dropping (34%).
On top of this, over three quarters (88%) of businesses surveyed don’t feel the central and local governments are giving them the support they need compared to sectors like finance, heavy industry and health.
Looking back over the last three years, the industry survived the pandemic through pure grit and determination. Some 55% pivoted their business and yielded positive results including increased community support (37%) and undergoing digital transformations (33%).
Patrick Fraser, Head of the Southern Region at Grayling, commented: “Despite the aftermath of the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis, it’s very reassuring to see that businesses in the Southwest have seen growth and feel confident in being able to survive the rest of the year.
“The industry is integral to communities in the region and its recovery following the pandemic goes to show just how much support local businesses have from loyal customers.”