Food and Beverage Industry Best Practices

5 February 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of the food and beverage industry, a notable shift toward digital commerce gained momentum, with significant implications for best practices. This transformation, which started gaining traction well before the challenges of recent times, has shaped a dynamic and innovative era for the industry.

Grocery stores, recognized as essential services, have experienced a surge in online demand, prompting a reevaluation of operational strategies. Simultaneously, restaurants, faced with the necessity to adapt, have embraced technological solutions and delivery services.

Examining current consumer expectations reveals a changing landscape influenced by factors such as remote work and evolving social dynamics. This shift has given rise to a set of contemporary food and beverage industry best practices that go beyond the immediate challenges presented by external circumstances.

Value-based purchasing

You’ve probably heard the expression “voting with your wallet.” Today’s shoppers inform themselves before they invest in a business. They want to make sure that the products they buy are ethically sourced, environmentally sustainable, and cruelty-free.

In short, they want to know the underlying values of the companies they do business with.

online grocery shoppingThe pandemic has only reinforced this practice, by prompting shoppers to support local businesses and brands. Accenture reports that for local and national brands, takeout sales have risen by 25% and 20%, respectively, while sales for global brands have dropped 8% in the same period.

According to a survey by Nielsen, value-based purchasing will account for $150 billion in sustainable consumer packaged goods this year—up by as much as $8 billion based on combined average growth rates. This means that B2B food and beverage manufacturers would do well to consider alternative packing options that take end-user values into account.


B2B companies have long known the value of personalizing customer relationships. But this applies equally to retail, and the food and beverage industry is no exception. Highly personalized shopping experiences make customers 40% more likely to spend more than originally planned… often in the form of adding additional items to their cart.

Particularly in the restaurant sector where service is a key differentiator, it’s important to check online reviews of your business. Ideally your website enables customer ratings and reviews. This not only keeps you informed about what your customers would like to see, it allows you to respond directly and personalize the experience further.

B2B online ecommerce storeB2B food and beverage companies like manufacturing distributor John R. White leverage B2B-specific ecommerce functionality including personalized catalogs and pricing, quick-order templates, and more in order to drive traffic to their online channels. k-ecommerce even created a custom design tailor made for John R. White’s and industry.

According to David Harris, John R. White’s president, “We knew an e-commerce platform, if done correctly, could make our relationship with our customers ‘stickier.’ They wouldn’t want to give up the ease and convenience of the platform.” This strategy worked: in their first year online, they surpassed their customer acquisition targets and grew their brand loyalty considerably.

Changes to physical stores and fulfillment

curbside pickupThe pandemic has driven numerous innovations in purchase fulfillment. One of the most notable is curbside pickup, where customers make purchases online and retrieve them outside the physical store. This is the direct evolution of buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS).

Similarly, by adjusting your inventory and warehouse management, you can allow your customers to purchase items from one location and retrieve them from another. The store that fulfils the order benefits by having the revenue associated with its location, and your customers benefit by having a variety of safe delivery options.

Final Thoughts: Navigating Digital Transformation in the Food and Beverage Industry

In summary, the food and beverage industry is undergoing a digital transformation, shaped by the surge in online demand and recent challenges. Consumer expectations now prioritize value-based purchasing, with a notable preference for sustainable and ethical practices. Personalization plays a key role, boosting customer spending and loyalty.

Successful B2B implementations, such as John R. White’s ecommerce strategy, showcase the impact of personalized catalogs and pricing. Fulfillment innovations, including curbside pickup and flexible inventory management, reflect the industry’s adaptability to changing consumer behaviors.

In essence, the industry’s best practices are evolving to meet the demands of a digital era, emphasizing values, personalization, and innovative fulfillment strategies. Embracing these changes is crucial for sustained growth and success in the dynamic food and beverage landscape.