Most people are weary of hearing the words “pandemic” or “recovery,” but in foodservice, the impact was outsized and long-lasting, and it triggered permanent shifts in the industry. This year, however, we’re hearing from clients that rather than managing post-pandemic shockwaves, the industry is finally focusing on new growth. To be precise – sustainable, profitable growth.

Before we explore how to achieve sustainable, profitable growth, let’s recap how far the industry has come over the past couple challenging years.

How We Ended Up Here

In 2021, as foodservice locations started to re-open their doors and resume “new-normal” operations, foodservice manufacturers focused on rebuilding sales lost during the heavy lockdown periods of 2020. In 2022, as demand stabilized and even grew, manufacturers struggled with supply due to issues across the supply chain, ranging from raw materials to labor.  They also had to grapple with double-digit inflation and implementing multiple rounds of often considerable price increases. Given limited ability to supply new sales, manufacturers focused on maintaining current business and protecting margins.

This year, supply chain issues have generally eased and prices have largely been adjusted for inflation.  Manufacturers can turn to gaining new business again. But the approach to achieving that growth has a bit of a different flavor – one more deliberate, mindful of costs, and focused on the long-term. Our foodservice manufacturer clients are using the phrase “Sustainable, Profitable Growth,” to describe their focus for 2023.

What is Sustainable, Profitable Growth?

Sustainable, profitable growth means gaining new business, growing that business, and retaining it for the long-term with sustainable margins.

How are manufacturers achieving sustainable, profitable growth in 2023? Some of the effective strategies we’re seeing our clients take this year include:

Optimizing trade programs Foodservice manufacturers are exercising even more discipline around trade. They are examining programs and assessing returns on investment (ROI’s).  Programs that fall short—where volume doesn’t justify the rate being paid—are being restructured, and those trade dollars are being reinvested into more profitable opportunities.  In addition, there is a renewed focus on stopping trade double-dips in which operators claim against two or more programs on single case of product.

Targeted new-selling, upselling, and cross-selling Foodservice manufacturers are using more sophisticated tactics to generate insights on the best new-sell, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities in their markets. They are combining multiple data streams to develop holistic views of customers and their buying habits.  They’re leveraging location-level trade claims data to reach new customers, close product voids, and optimize assortments.  Some are even venturing into machine learning to uncover nonintuitive selling opportunities.

Proactive retention Foodservice manufacturers are leveraging insights to identify at-risk business before it’s lost, instead of trying to regain it after it’s lost.  They’re also comparing operator purchases to 2019 to identify locations whose volume has not fully recovered, and they’re deploying sales resources accordingly.

They’re moving from being data-driven to insight-driven organizations.

How Tibersoft can Help

Getting the insights to find opportunities for sustainable, profitable growth and delivering them to the right people at the right time can be challenging. Tibersoft is here to support foodservice manufacturers wherever they are on the path to sustainable, profitable growth. We’ve been hard at work helping our clients with insights to optimize trade programs, expose targeted selling opportunities, retain existing customers, and achieve their goals. We can do the same for you.

Schedule time with one of our experts.

Or, see a few examples of the insights we’ve put to work at our client manufacturers: Sustainable Growth E-book