Can innovation turn around beverage industry execs pessimism about 2017?
- Almost 11% of beverage industry executives believe 2017 will be a challenging year for their businesses, about twice the number of executives whol felt that way in 2016, according to this year's annual Just-Drinks Confidence survey.
- About 61% of surveyed beverage execs still believe 2017 will be an improvement over 2016, but that percentage declined compared to last year's 67.2%.
- About one-quarter of survey participants said they expected the beverage industry's operating environment and consumer confidence to deteriorate over the next 12 months.
The reasons for heightened pessimism among beverage industry execs are widely diverse. It's unclear exactly where these surveyed beverage executives work, in terms of company size, but their concerns could ultimately vary depending on their current status and growth trajectory in the coming year.
One critical factor for beverage growth in the new year is innovation. The beverage category in particular has seen various new themes in the last few years' evolution, like cold-pressed juices.
While new ideas have been a redeeming quality for the beverage industry, they are also a significant challenge. Executives have to determine how to stand out as the marketplace becomes more crowded. Startups are often more agile and adaptive to consumer trends, which means they can bring new products to market faster than most larger legacy brands. However, top-line growth is critical for all beverage companies, no matter how long the brand may have been around.
The new presidential administration could have some impact on beverage executives' viewpoints, depending on how they view the administration's potential sway on current and future food policy, as well as trade and taxes.