07/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/27/2021 06:01
Food retailers and product suppliers look past the pandemic as consumer preferences accelerate shifts in the work, workforce and workplaces of the future.
New York, NY--
Why this matters
The pandemic created a new dynamic across the food industry as restaurant closures drove at-home consumption of food to new heights. While food retailers and product suppliers scrambled to meet demand by accelerating the use of technology to fulfill online orders and working to overcome supply challenges, they are now ready to look past the pandemic and define the future of work for the industry.
Deloitte and FMI - The Food Industry Association, have developed a series of reports to examine how food retailers and suppliers are approaching the future of work. The first report, 'Future of Work: The State of the Food Industry,' reveals the industry's future of work maturity, goals, roadblocks and investment.
The report is based on a survey conducted between April and May 2021 of more than 150 U.S.-based executives at consumer packaged goods, food manufacturing and processing companies, as well as grocers and other food retailers, in addition to interviews with industry leaders.
Investing in change
The past year revealed fundamental shifts in the nature of work required for the food industry to meet consumer demand. For retailers, this means managing online shopping and delivery of groceries curbside versus more traditional in-store support, while suppliers focus on staying resilient to adapt to dramatic shifts in consumer preferences. To build this new future of work, food retailers and suppliers are taking a fresh look at the type of work people are doing, where it takes place, and the need for new skills and technology. Most senior leaders across functional areas are already engaged in future of work efforts, underscoring the importance of implementing change in all parts of the organization.
'During the pandemic, it was all-hands-on-deck to meet consumer demand. Now the food industry is looking to drive performance and business outcomes through future of work initiatives. However, the food industry is a complex system and no single company is going to be able to get their fully realized vision of the future of work on their own, and will require collaboration with their suppliers, partners and other industry participants. Grocers and product suppliers should lay the ground work for the future together, and the companies that invest in a people-centric approach by prioritizing the work, workforce and workplace will be better positioned to adapt to shifting consumer preferences and long-term growth.'
People are the future and the present
Despite differences in how companies are approaching the future of work, attracting, and retaining talent are near universal challenges for all industry players today.
'At a time when many industries suffered devastating job losses, the grocery industry has served as a source for occupations for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Yet FMI's operations data suggest that turnover in food retail was 40% before the pandemic, 46% said COVID-19 made it harder to recruit and retain people. Retailers told us they addressed this tension by focusing on a range of benefits for associates, including higher compensation; bonuses; flextime; training and skills development; employee wellness programs; education programs; and hiring and retention incentives. As we witness in this new study with Deloitte on the future of our workforce, the food industry can and should continue to rally around the strategies and investments it employed during the pandemic to keep customers and their essential workforce safe and America fed.'
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