Digital technologies offer opportunities for growth

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The value of shipments in the consumer packaged goods industry rose 6% in 2010, to almost $124 billion, and industry is now in “recovery mode” with companies focused on growth agendas and international expansion. And digital technologies stand as an excellent way to achieve that growth. Those were some of the takeaway points from “Thriving in a Connected World,” the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Pwc U.S. 2011 Food, Beverage, and Consumer Products financial performance report released today.

The report noted financial performance in 2010 generally improved over 2009, with the manufacturing sector achieving strong median one-year shareholder returns of 15%. Additionally, median earnings before interest and taxes growth rose to 12.9% from 4.3%.

Much of the growth was attributed to the headway made in digital technologies, the G.M.A. said.

“C.P.G. companies of all sizes harnessed digital technologies in the past few years to become more productive and efficient,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. “This study shows how food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers are leveraging innovation to optimize service to consumers and trading partners.”

Many of the technologies used in developed markets, such as point-of-sale stock-keeping unit numbers, are not necessarily available in emerging markets, the report said. As a result, connecting with consumers in these markets on their own digital terms will better allow companies to grow.

One hundred and forty eight C.P.G. companies were reviewed as part of the report. For more details visit www.gmaonline.org or www.pwc.com/us/retailandconsumer.
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