Goldbeck Recruiting, a globally connected executive search firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia, interviewed industry professionals across the continent and conducted an official poll of members of the US and Canadian Angus Reid Forum.

“Food producers have been through a lot over the past few months because of COVID-19 and they’re taking a closer look at export markets in the Americas. Through our network, we’re seeing food manufacturers pivot from globalized supply chains to what we’ve been calling around our office ‘post-pandemic continentalization,’" said Goldbeck Recruiting President Henry Goldbeck.

Respondents reported they were much more likely to purchase locally produced or sourced goods (82% Canadians / 65% Americans). By category, vegetables was the most important to buyers seeking local goods, followed by poultry and meat, fruit, and the least important were dairy, seafood and grains. The viability of locally produced foods is bolstered by respondents' lack of concern for reduced product variety in the long term, with only 23% of Canadians and 38% of Americans reporting concern.

64% of respondents noted they’re more likely to support companies that avoided layoffs, and 74% responded favorably to companies that have prioritized the safety of their employees and food processing. This represents a bright spot in transparency marketing; responsibly managing safety protocols can maximize positive public impact.

“As food manufacturers invest in safety and automation, we’re seeing increased demand for operations and production managers to oversee these transformations. In the sales sector for equipment manufacturers, there is a lot of value being placed on communications as reps find themselves acting as crucial conduits to food processors and their evolving requirements," Goldbeck added.

Both Americans and Canadians are now cooking more at home than they did before the pandemic and intend to continue well into the future. Fifty-nine percent of respondents noted that they prepared more food at home; with 66% of American respondents and 53% of Canadian respondents favoring home-cooked meals. Most plan to spend the same (41%) or less (46%) on food prepared outside the home going forward.