Allianz issues a clarion call for ‘robust contingency plans’ in food and beverage industry

Food and beverage sector faced significant challenges this year. Picture: Dylan Jacobs/Independent Newspapers.

Food and beverage sector faced significant challenges this year. Picture: Dylan Jacobs/Independent Newspapers.

Published May 21, 2024


The food and beverage industry is facing significant challenges this year, with business interruption emerging as the primary concern, according to the Allianz Risk Barometer.

The report, based on insights from over 3 000 risk management professionals and business leaders, highlighted the urgent need for proactive risk management and resilience-building efforts to ensure business continuity and safeguard against potential disruptions.

The barometer revealed that business interruption was the top risk faced by the food and beverage sector, with 53% of respondents identifying it as their primary concern.

“This is followed by cyber incidents at 36%, climate change at 21%, with energy crisis and product recall/quality management/serial defects, both at 19%,” noted the report.

“These risks pose significant threats to the industry's operations, financial stability, and brand reputation.”

The food and beverage industry was said to be particularly vulnerable to business interruption risks due to supply chain disruptions, natural disasters, and public health crises.

“To address these challenges, the report emphasised the importance of robust contingency plans, diversified sourcing, and strong supplier relationships,” it said.

“Real-time monitoring technology and alternative distribution channels are recommended to effectively manage and mitigate disruptions.”

Cyber incidents were said to also be a growing concern for the industry as digitalisation and connectivity become integral to operations.

The report underscored the need for cybersecurity measures, including encryption and employee training, to safeguard sensitive data and intellectual property in an increasingly digital landscape.

Climate change was said to pose disruptions in agricultural supply chains, extreme weather events affecting crop yields, and changes in consumer preferences towards sustainable products.

To adapt to these challenges, adopting sustainable practices such as precision farming and collaborating with suppliers to reduce carbon emissions was suggested.

The industry's reliance on energy-intensive operations such as processing, packaging, and transportation exposed it to energy crisis risks.

The report highlighted the importance of energy efficiency initiatives, including the adoption of renewable energy and optimisation of transportation routes, to mitigate these risks.

Product recall, quality management, and serial defects were said to also pose significant risks to the industry, leading to financial losses and damage to brand reputation.

Findings emphasised the need for rigorous quality control measures throughout the production process, coupled with advanced technologies for traceability and recall procedures, to ensure product safety and integrity.

Overall, the Allianz Risk Barometer stressed the importance of proactive risk management, resilience-building efforts, and sustainability integration for the long-term viability of food and beverage businesses amidst evolving challenges.

By addressing these risks head-on and implementing the recommended mitigation strategies, companies in the industry can enhance their operational resilience and ensure a sustainable future, it said.