02 Mar 3 keys to 2021 for the tinned foods sector
The tinned foods sector must take on the year 2021 with courage following a year marked by the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Despite that situation, the overall yearly assessment of the tinned foods sector for 2020 was rather positive. This is particularly true with regard to pre-cooked pulses as these companies were able to mitigate drops in sales to restaurants by reinforcing retail sales and home consumption.
All the doubts about the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide require food industry companies to have a solid plan for this year which includes all possible options and scenarios: new waves, possible restrictions implemented by governments to stop the spread, intermittent business closings (both restaurants and retail), changes in schedules due to curfews and even hypothetical lockdowns.
To this end, there are three fundamental keys that any strategy must consider in order to achieve an overall positive situation by the end of 2021. Internal as well as external factors must be taken into consideration and there must be a commitment to flexibility and personalized treatment. As tinned food manufacturers, we must understand that the demand may be unstable throughout this year because the social situation is quite complicated. As far as we’re concerned, we must be able to meet the demands as quickly and as effectively as possible. However, this requires good forecasts and a huge commitment by the entire workforce which we must be able to encourage.
Considering how things went last year, the forecast is that the year 2021 will be a year of growth. There will be increased household consumption of tinned foods, especially pre-cooked pulses, and exports will also increase. Being prepared for this scenario will be the key to business success and there are three key factors that must be kept in mind.
1 The ability to meet the demand
The first is the ability to meet the demand, which will likely rise and fall several times. This issue is essential in a context like the one we’re in now because it can either strengthen or destroy our customers’ trust.
Sales of tinned pulses reached 150% growth during the most restrictive phases of the state of alarm. Although this kind of peak is not likely to occur again in 2021, companies must be ready for isolated high-volume growth.
Having the business power to be able to absorb such a demand will be a differential factor. Whoever can do so will be the chosen one. And not only at this time. Demonstrating the capacity to react will be decisive in creating new customer and supplier relations. The idea isn’t to produce like crazy and build up stock but rather create a strong and flexible business structure. This requires the greatest of coordination from everyone involved: from sales to the industrial department, because if people want to sell but there’s no product, the strategy will fail. At the same time, if some focus only on producing without thinking about the need to get those products out on the market, the result will also be negative.
Another thing to take into consideration in order to have a successful 2021 in the tinned foods sector is paying attention to the international market. Tinned pulses are one of the products most heavily exported from Spain, according to Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) statistics, and this trend will continue throughout the year because Spanish food products are in great demand and highly valued due to their quality all over the world.
Beginning to export is no easy task, especially when it comes to food. You need certificates and extensive knowledge. That’s why it’s important to look for professional tinned foods exporters. Yet it’s never too late to start if the road is properly prepared. And this year will be a good time to do so because exports will continue growing. What’s fundamental at this point is studying the destination market very well and trying to adapt your products to local tastes and needs by adding new ingredients, for example. It’s also important to choose the most appropriate packaging formats for the targeted end consumers.
3 Food safety
Ensuring food safety and making this commitment clear is the third key for this year. This is a basic concept in the tinned foods sector and it has become an essential requirement during the pandemic. Agrofood companies in Spain have always been aware of this need but now, more than ever, you have to look after every last detail. It’s not enough just to do things well. You must shine and this excellence must be constant throughout several external audits. One of the most important is the certification granted by the International Featured Standards (IFS) after passing their controls. It’s issued by NSF International and is the food safety standard par excellence because it guarantees the products comply with the highest standards of safety, quality and sustainability.