The coronavirus pandemic has food and beverage companies rethinking some everyday efforts. More than a third of food and beverage companies — 38% — are incorporating additional health and safety procedures into their business plans in comparison to six months ago, according to “Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry, Industry Perspective on the Challenges of Today, Week of 3/23/20.”

The survey-based report was published by BNP Media-owned Clear Seas Research. BNP Media is the parent company of Dairy Foods.

When asked about the specific actions their companies are taking to keep their employees healthy, 91% of respondents said they were encouraging hand washing. Other responses that made the top five include:

  • Promoting social distancing: 86%.
  • Increasing frequency of cleaning/sanitation procedures: 85%.
  • Providing hand sanitizer/antibacterial soaps: 80%
  • Eliminating/reducing employee business-related travel: 69%.

In terms of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on operations, 64% of respondents indicated that they have seen a decline in new business development activity in comparison to a year ago, while 12% said they have noted no change. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%), meanwhile, reported an increase in new business development activity.

More than half of respondents (54%) reported a decline in business spending, while 32% indicated there was no change — and 14% actually reported an increase.

The research also showed that 56% of planned business is on schedule, while 27% has been delayed and 17% has been canceled.

When asked about their greatest food and beverage manufacturing concerns, 78% of respondents cited the current economy. Coming in close behind were achieving business goals over the next three months (75%) and achieving business goals over the next six months (73%). Rounding out the top five responses were business stability for the next 12 month (69%) and supply chain disruptions (66%). Moreover, more than a quarter of respondents (28%) indicated their companies expect to lay off at least some of their employees.