Crucial season lies ahead for manufacturers and confectionery retailers

The next few months are likely to prove extremely critical for manufacturers of confectionery, snacks and bakery ranges, as well as the retailers they serve around the world.

As far as the UK is concerned, latest studies from the Jam communications agency have found consumers have placed a high value on stocking up on confectionery and bakery items from independent retailers, pointing to the fact that we’ve previously addressed, uncertain, anxious times, often lead to a desire for greater levels of perceived comfort food and snacks.

Though the study’s results (which showed over 50% of people had been prepared to spend on bakery series, and 46% in confectionery ranges) should be seen as encouraging signs, it’s unlikely that the sector will be becoming complacent any time soon, with consumer spending coming under renewed pressure as the prospect of a wider global recession looms due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

While we have recently covered a number of major manufacturers’ plans for Halloween and Christmas launches – which will be crucial in terms of spearheading a recovery, there’s little doubting we are in for a relatively bumpy ride even with commendable business strategic planning being revealed by the industry.

The challenges being faced have been underlined by the Food and Drink Federation, which has said that the government’s latest winter plan to replace the existing furlough scheme to help protect jobs during the coronavirus crisis, does not go nearly far enough to assist manufacturers and those working within the hospitality industries, which have been particularly affected this year.

Despite such realities, I’ve been continually impressed in my communications and (a couple of rare actual visits in recent months) with the genuine sense of resilience that the food and drink sector in general appears to be displaying amid the unfolding saga. Just when events appeared to be opening up a little last month, we have now seemingly taken a step backwards with a deeply unwelcome rise in coronavirus cases making headlines, with cases reaching their highest ever daily level this week.

It’s little surprise that fresh government measures have been put in place to try and stem this trend further as progress continues to be made on finding a long-term solution with vaccines that will hopefully enable a return to pre-pandemic life. In the meantime, it’s a question of summoning up a fair deal more of the determination shown by a great number of businesses out there to carry on in spite of adversity.  It is always interesting to hear the views of industry – so let us know how you’re coping out there, wherever you are based in the world – send your views on the state of the industry to me below, so we can further reflect what is happening right across our sector.

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