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Sunridge holds annual US Food, Beverage & Agriculture Leadership Dinner in Newport Beach, California

By 19 October 2023February 2nd, 2024No Comments

Sunridge Partners (UK), LLP (“Sunridge”), a specialist food, beverage and agriculture investor that helps companies become clear industry leaders, held its annual US Leadership Dinner in Newport Beach, California.

The event was attended by CEOs, investors and industry thought leaders who came together to discuss sectoral trends, share thoughts on the macro economic and geopolitical landscape, and more broadly build connections over fabulous food and drink at Pelican Hill, just south of Newport Beach.

Key topics covered included:

  • Food affordability and differentiation: While broader inflation moderated in 2023, inflation on food related products remains persistently high. There are tensions between producers, institutional buyers, and end consumers. Consumers are seeking high quality healthy products and good value for money. Retail and food service buyers are attempting to provide differentiated products and limit further rising prices paid to producers and manufacturers. There was general consensus amongst participants on the continued rise of private label (particularly in the US), increasing demand for frozen food and challenges in preventing margin compression;
  • Labor: The availability of labor and ability to recruit and retain labor able to meet minimum performance levels continues to be a struggle. Guests were more optimistic though about technical innovations noting breakthroughs in mechanisation of tricky physical tasks, advances in artificial intelligence and other innovative strategies for reducing the overall labor input within the agro-food value chain;
  • Investment climate: Top of mind for guests was the broader deterioration of the investment climate. Participants were concerned  about extremely high public spending deficits in the US and Europe, challenges posed by higher interest rates, geopolitical tensions and on-going conflicts and the tougher fundraising environment. Those difficulties aside, our guests were positive on 2023 (particularly the second half of the year) and guardedly optimistic on 2024.

We look forward to future insightful discussions over the course of the year to come.