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Our economy currently

robotic arm making food

There is clearly huge ongoing debate about the sheer devastating Impact Covid is reeking on UK PLCs and this is absolutely true. However, there are some sectors still operating at reasonable levels of performance.

Whilst the broader definition of the “Food Industry“ is seen as in turmoil, it doesn’t take a genius to work out, retail sales are marching upwards mirrored by Factory output from their suppliers. The retailers' issues are not volumes, but profit, with a significant slug of cost added to each weekly shop by our desire to have a home delivery. However, in reality the current Health and Economic situation is having a very diverging impact on the sector. With the horrid scenes being played out in restaurants and bars up, down and across the breadth of this country. Where national chains and independents alike don’t know from one day to the next whether they are closing or serving substantial meals. Their suppliers are equally bereft of good news as they try and pivot to find new avenues for their offerings. And please don’t get us started on the poor airline supply chain and our great clients in that sector.

robotic machine packing food
Robotics are becoming increasingly important to the Food industry and to us from a recruitment perspective.

Focus have lived through three previous recessions, since our launch in 1990, and this has taught us to control what you can control. All three previous recessions have shown very similar trends and outcomes, but never have we seen the effects having such a polarising impact on the sector. However, we are seeing very similar themes and opportunities. Controlling what we can, has focused us on retail, manufacturing, and supply chain. We have developed new relationships in technology including AI and Robotics. These are areas which are experiencing growth. Whilst the attached chart shows total number of UK vacancies for this year vs last year, for total UK PLCs, this decline is not so brutally being replayed in the food and beverage sector.

Graph for jobs

Indeed, Job numbers are increasing, with many C suite roles and "Heads of" appearing as businesses prepare for the eventual upturn. Oh, and we have seen a fair few fixed-term contract roles, which is a great way to have an extended interview, be paid and get a full time job at the end of it.

So, if you have been made redundant from the food industry, please don’t despair, yes it may take time to get back in to work and you may have to flex on location and perhaps level of role and even have some additional training, but opportunities are out there and we are gearing up for a rapid period of activity once Covid is in retreat. In the meantime, we are busy now and are all in the business, albeit using technology to be socially distanced.

We would be keen to help as many of you as we can and also to hear your views and predications on what’s next for UK Food PLCs during these challenging times.