The global food and beverage sector is one of the oldest industries in the world. Today, the industry is worth $6.1 Trillion USD globally. For centuries, food and beverage trade had been dominated by physical stores, exhibitions, and expos. All that changed when the pandemic struck.
All sectors of the worldwide economy were disrupted by the pandemic in one way or another. The Food and Beverage industry was among the most severely impacted. When shelter in place policies were enforced, traffic to restaurants and cafes took a hit. In Latin America, traffic declined by 75%, while North America and the Middle East saw a 90% decline compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Additionally, the Food and Beverage industry relies heavily on just-in-time logistics. This model is ideal when operations are normal, and can even withstand a certain level of turmoil within the supply chain. But, the level of global supply chain disruptions created by the pandemic can be disastrous.
All these factors have added up and led to closures or economic losses for thousands of restaurants, bars, and even some physical grocery stores during the pandemic.
Fortunately, the fallout from the pandemic wasn’t all doom and gloom. While traffic to restaurants and physical stores declined, commerce on the internet blossomed. At the height of the pandemic, a third of consumers ordered groceries online, 41% of whom were doing it for the first time. The convenience of having groceries delivered to the front door is likely to turn online grocery shopping into a long-term habit.
This trend wasn’t limited to just retail. According to McKinsey, about 70% of B2B decision-makers have fallen in love with making orders remotely. And this isn’t a fad, about 89% plan to continue making B2B purchases remotely for the medium term.
The main channel of many food and beverage producers for acquiring customers has been attending physical trade events and exhibitions. Many businesses admit this approach can be hit or miss, usually carry a big cost to attend, and ultimately costly offline meetings and negotiations can at times result in few orders.
Recently, in-person exhibitions have significantly been affected by the pandemic. Consequently, suppliers lost connections with their customers. When the pandemic hit, bringing with it global supply chain disruptions, declining physical traffic, and lockdowns, suppliers decided to give online retailers, such as Alibaba.com, a try. Even though many businesses consider themselves tech savvy, there were doubts about ecommerce being a good opportunity for them. Many in the end were presently surprised by the spectacular results.
In December 2021, Alibaba.com hosted an online trade show, Global Food and Beverage Selection. This event featured 1,600 exhibitors from all over the world and showcased over 282,000 food and beverage products. It brought procurement orders, including many orders from countries halfway across the world – a result many exhibitors felt was next to impossible to achieve at a physical trade show.
Take your food and beverage business to the next level by browsing on Alibaba.com food and beverage pavilion today.