Maker Q&A: What's Your Biggest Issue Heading Into the New Year?
Specialty food makers face critical supply chain, pricing, and labor issues in 2022, but they also face never-ending hurdles around communicating the benefits of their products to consumers. Whether those challenges involve explaining the health benefits of the products they offer or their sustainable sourcing and packaging, makers need to make sure they are getting the message across.
SFA News Daily asked three specialty food makers about the biggest issues they are facing in the new year. Following is what they said:
Adit Agrawal, president and CEO, Alcoeats
In 2021, the supply chain has been a major issue for anyone, and we are going to see some issues for at least the next two years.
Another issue will be with consumer spending habits. With inflation going up drastically, I think consumers will start buying fewer specialty food items in 2022, so I think there will be some downward pressure on demand. With inflation rising, our costs are going up, but to retain consumer demand and keep our customers with us, and make sure that they are cared for, we are eating up all those cost increases instead of forwarding them on to the customers. We will continue that in 2022.
The food crop is highly dependent on weather, but I can see prices taking a hit. We sell cashews, for example, and a lot of the supply for cashews is imported. Anything that is significantly imported to America will take a big hit.
Another major issue is that we see a big impact on small businesses. Big food suppliers have economies of scale in place, so it’s easier for them to navigate the supply chain challenges compared to smaller business, or companies that are very niche or that are in the specialty food business. It’s going to be very tricky for companies to maintain premium quality, and specifically for Alcoeats, maintaining the gourmet taste and ingredients at the level that we need is going to be a major challenge.
Hopefully we can navigate the scope of these challenges in a meaningful way, and of course we need all the help we can get from the customers. It’s been cool to see how customers have shown their support for small business.