Food Logistics Sector Ramps-Up
To Meet Retailer Demand For Christmas
While the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, figures published recently in GfK’s widely quoted, Consumer Confidence Index (https://www.gfk.com/press/nov-uk-consumer-confidence-stages-end-of-year-rally) showed an upswing in consumer sentiment as we approach the end of 2023.
With Christmas and New Year holidays just weeks away, retailers will be hoping that an improvement in how people are feeling about their finances will translate to increased consumer spending.
It should be noted that higher confidence was predominantly in the short term. However, concerns remain about the general health of the economy, this, coupled with the expected general election in 2024, continues to create degrees of uncertainty.
For those operating in the food logistics sector, the pressure has already commenced to get the necessary Christmas fare to our stores. There is a need to ensure that staffing levels are optimised and that the required volumes across a whole gambit of goods can be produced and delivered on time to the nation’s major retailers.
Tim Southam, Managing Director of Divisions at Staffline GB with responsibility across the Logistics and Supermarkets Divisions says:
“As we edge closer to Christmas trading, we’re seeing some increases in volume expectations and more positive forecasts from clients than initially expected.
From a consumer perspective, we've now seen the impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and there's been a distinct uptick in requirements for staff to meet the orders being placed.
If the positive confidence remains and the consumer feels they're receiving good value, we should see stronger sales both in-store and online - a much needed ‘shot in the arm’ after what has been a challenging trading year for many retailers".
On a more general note, Tim advises that he and his team are seeing a number of broader trends shaping the market.
Further, that he expects some of these will gather pace as we head into 2024. He goes on to say, “With the increasing emphasis on cost, convenience, variety, and sustainability, the logistics sector is under pressure to adapt and innovate.”
Some of the Trends Shaping the Market:
- Technological Advancements: The advent of technology, including AI and data analytics, is transforming the food logistics landscape. Sensors monitor temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors during transit, ensuring the preservation of food quality and safety as well as the use of AI to better predict customer purchasing habits and to ensure correct levels of stock are received just in time.
- E-commerce and Last-Mile Delivery: The growth of online grocery shopping has led to a surge in demand for efficient last-mile delivery solutions. Companies are exploring innovative approaches such as autonomous delivery vehicles and drone deliveries to stay ahead of these trends.
- Sustainability and Environmental Concerns: In hand with legislative changes and government incentives to de-carbonise industry, many consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their choices. This trend has driven the adoption of eco-friendly practices within the food logistics sector, including electric and hybrid delivery vehicles and reduced packaging waste.
- Cold Chain Management: Maintaining an unbroken cold chain is critical for preserving the quality and safety of perishable goods. Advanced refrigeration technologies and efficient cold storage facilities are key to ensuring food products remain fresh throughout the supply chain. With the ever increasing energy costs, the efficiency of storage is crucial to maintain competitive price points.
Tim goes on to say, “The food retail sector has been struggling against high levels of inflation which is impacting retailers and shoppers alike. The challenge is to optimise efficiencies and drive innovation to ensure that value is passed onto the consumer. It's clear from consumer trends that decisions on where to shop are still being significantly influenced by cost."
Evolution - Where Opportunity Lies
- Collaboration and Partnerships: Collaborations between logistics providers, retailers and producers can drive supply chain efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction.
- Data-Driven Insights: Harnessing data analytics can provide valuable insights into demand patterns, helping companies optimise inventory management and reduce waste.
- Green Logistics: Investing in sustainable practices that not only align with consumer preferences, but also reduce operational costs over the long term.
Summing up, Tim says, “In many ways, I’d say that the UK food logistics market's evolution is indicative of the changes sweeping the logistics industry more generally. By seeking to evolve and embracing opportunity – as we see happening at a number of our major customers, we believe the sector will pave the way for a more efficient, resilient, and sustainable food distribution network.”
Get in TouchUntil then, to find out more about how Staffline Divisions can help your business manage temporary, contract and permanent staff requirements, please contact Tim Southam (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a member of Staffline's New Business Team for a confidential conversation: email@example.com
Tim Southam is Managing Director of Staffline Divisions which covers the sourcing, recruitment and provision of staff into good work within the Supermarkets, Logistics and Automotive sectors. Tim has worked in the Recruitment industry for the past 25 years, before which his early career was spent in retail.
An Overview of Staffline
Founded in 1986, Staffline is the UK’s leading provider of flexible blue-collar workers, supplying approximately 50,000 staff per day on average to around 450 client sites, across a wide range of industries including agriculture, supermarkets, drinks, driving, food processing, logistics and manufacturing.
Find out more at: https://www.staffline.co.uk/