One in four companies in the food industry sector has had to file for a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) to maintain their production during the pandemic, 24 percentage points below the mean of all sectors (49%) and only behind the primary, according to the study carried out by Randstad Research.
Specifically, only 40% of food companies have had to resort to teleworking during the pandemic compared to 56% of the national average in other sectors, and 9% have had to expand their workforce to face the peak of activity, which was essential during the state of alarm.
“We are facing one of the most resilient sectors of our economy and that, thanks to its essentiality, has been able to maintain and even increase production during months of confinement total population ”, explained the director of Randstad Research, Valentín Bote.
Bote stressed that food is a “strategic sector with a high capillarity and whose territorial implantation is key in fixing the population and in the local development of rural areas.”
According to the study, the food sector has withstood the coronavirus attack better than others. Thus, 36% of the companies were able to maintain 100% of their activity during the crisis and their business volume up to 32%, figures that practically doubled the average of sectors that remained at 18% and 15% respectively .
Among the measures adopted by companies in the food sector to tackle the health emergency, only 8% had to paralyze temporarily its business activity, 15 percentage points below the average for sectors (23%); and 9% faced an increase in their activity during the pandemic.
However, despite the initial peaks in production, according to the INE Industry Turnover Index, production in the food industry fell 15.2% in May compared to the same month of the previous year .
Thus, according to the information provided by the Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) in its Annual Economic Report, the pandemic could cause a drop of between 3.8% and 8% of production and, in the worst case scenario, it would cause losses of 10 billion euros and between 4,000 and 11,000 direct jobs.
However, businessmen in the food sector have been “optimistic” regarding their recovery forecasts, which are well above the average for other sectors.
Thus, 52% consider that it reached normality by the end of the second quarter and 62% of executives believe that they will achieve the volume of business before the crisis by the end of the year, while almost 9 out of 10 administrators value that the full recovery will come in the second quarter of 2021.
This perception contrasts with the average for all sectors, which places, with 39%, the recovery in the first quarter of 2020 and, with 48%, the recovery in the last quarter of the year.
Economic uncertainty in Spain is the main concern for 62% of the managers of the sector who believe that it can weigh down their company, followed by the loss of turnover (31%), although 71% trust the strength of their sector to weather the crisis.
In order to face this uncertainty, 41% of employers consider that tax aid and deductions are a good mechanism, followed by 30% of labor flexibility and 29% of direct financial aid.