Despite continuing uncertainty caused by Brexit, the foodservice equipment industry is optimistic about economic growth over the next 12 months, according to the latest CESA business survey.
Most companies also reported that sales were up, compared to the previous 12 months. However, the most important drivers for growth over the next 12 months are seen to be increased sales to new and existing customers and product innovation – while expanding into new geographical areas, a big focus for Brexit campaigners, is at the very bottom of the list.
The results of the survey, which took place at the end of Q1 2019, are published in CESA Outlook. This new publication is a reengineering of the CESA Business Barometer. “We worked with consultants and business experts to make sure that the content and structure of the questions would give us the most accurate insight into the market,” said Adam Lawrence, marketing manager of CESA.
Of the respondents, 39% were UK manufacturers, 39% were distributors of products manufactured outside of the UK, 8% were service companies and the remainder included businesses such as equipment resellers.
The results show that while optimism is strong, the biggest threat is a weakening economic environment and a lack of growth in the economy. The second biggest business concern is uncertainty over the UK’s role in Europe. Meanwhile the skills shortage is a continuing worry, with retaining the best people and the lack of appropriately trained staff both featuring as major concerns.
Lawrence said: “Although it wasn’t mentioned in the research questions, Brexit looms large over the answers. It’s causing business uncertainty and weakening the economy.
“However, the survey underlines that the foodservice equipment industry is tackling the challenges through a variety of innovations, such as developing new products and technologies, exploring new markets and investigating new ways to reach their established customer bases. It’s hugely encouraging that nearly 80% of businesses expect to increase sales over the next 12 months.”