Inflation is particularly affecting the food and beverage industries, especially since food, groceries, and dining out at restaurants are all on the rise.
Inflation has been top of mind lately. Inflation reached its highest rate in 40 years this summer. These conditions make it seem that almost everyone (HT0_ two-thirds to be precise) lives paycheck to paycheck.
The beverage industry is particularly affected by the high prices for food, groceries, and dining at restaurants. What is the impact of inflation on the market? Let's dive in.
1. Changing Consumer Habits
One aspect of the food and beverage industry is fortunate: Many of their products and services are considered essential, but it doesn't mean they can't change consumer habits.
At grocery stores all over the country, prices for staples such as meat, eggs, and bread have risen. Americans aren’t getting a break in their favorite restaurants. Those who choose to eat out or order takeout are also seeing an increase in prices.
The food-away from-home index experienced its biggest 12-month increase in almost four decades, compared to 2021.
Consumers are now these days deciding practically about how much they eat, inside and outside. They may also switch to cheaper brands, stores, or restaurants. Recent trends show that consumers are substituting similar store-brand products for their brand-name items.
Some companies offer more for less. Taco Bell has a five-item Big Bell Box combo that has been a fan favorite during inflation. But this plan is not affordable approach for all the brands.
Instead, they can concentrate their efforts on customer loyalty through innovative marketing and advertising, loyalty programs, and low-cost perks (like delivery) to retain their loyal customers, despite price increases.
2. Higher Operating Costs
Higher prices do not only affect consumers but also impact businesses' bottom lines. It's easy to see why global supply chain issues and labor shortages are causing problems for businesses and creating higher costs of doing business.
Food and beverage companies have tried many different solutions to lower operating and manufacturing costs.
Restaurants and large consumer brands such as Chobani or Fritos have found a solution to this problem by offering fewer products at the same price. This is known colloquially "as shrinkflation."
This practice is not new but it's often used without warning. Customers have complained about companies for what they perceive as deceptive business practices. Some companies have been more open about shrinking portions to avoid backlash. Domino's Pizza reduced its 10-piece wings by 2 pieces.
A price increment of a comodity is just another way to deal with rising operating and manufacturing costs. Many have done it, both in restaurants and grocery stores, but some say it could hurt consumer demand and/or brand loyalty over the long term
There are some advantages and disadvantages to deal with current operating costs on per product or item. This highlights inflation's impact on the industry. Individual businesses need to tread carefully in order to find solutions that work for their customers.
3. The Pivot to Beverages
Although inflation is a negative factor for both companies and consumers, there are still opportunities for creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. While overall industry and consumer behavior are changing rapidly, Americans still want to drink alcohol.
Alcohol sales have not been affected by the return of more people to bars after the pandemic. However, prices did rise, although they were not as steep as other products. Companies have created new products such as hard seltzers and hard espresso.
But alcohol is not the only beverage that is on the rise. Companies such as Coca-Cola are seeing impressive revenue growth.
For the first time in history, 46 of the 100 top products on IRI’s New Products Pacesetters List were beverages. Eight other beverage products were also included in the top 10, including Minute Maid and Dr. Pepper.
This new batch of beverages doesn't mean that companies are unaffected by inflation. However, it is a striking example of what it means for companies to keep pace with consumers.
Demand during difficult times. This shows that Americans will spend more on the products and services they value, even if they spend less. This trend could prove to be profitable for entrepreneurs in today's economy.
No doubt Inflation had a negative impact on the way people are doing business but appart from this it has also provided vast opportunities for people in the food- and beverage sector to find new ways of working.
Entrepreneurs must remain flexible in a changing market, where prices are rising and the economy is in flux.
While food prices are rising, it is more important to know if the purchasing power has changed. Although some inflation is good for the economy, an increase in inflation for food and gas can cause problems for consumers and businesses. Operators need to adjust to maintain exceptional customer service and keep their net profit in check with the current state of the food industry.