In a February 2021 survey of FCIA members, over half reported that their businesses are better or significantly better than in March 2020. This is a vast improvement from the same response taken in a September 2020 survey, when only 34% were seeing better or significantly better improvements.
Fifty-three FCIA members participated in the February 2021 survey; a third chocolate makers, a third chocolatiers and the remaining third equipment suppliers, traders and specialty retailers. The majority of the respondents were from the associate level category or membership.
Not surprisingly, companies are investing more in online sales platforms (65%), advertising (51%), and product diversification (40%). The biggest concern for members in September 2020 was business survival. This concern has been replaced by supply chain disruptions and the ability to network in the February 2021 survey. Company members have also been concerned about the safety of their staff during the pandemic.
In terms of FCIA value to members, respondents ranked our weekly educational webinars first (55%), followed by networking (35%), virtual conferences (35%), promotions (32%) and discount programs (22%).
The final section of the survey asked members about how they plan to maintain business networks and visibility with consumers in 2021. Most indicated that virtual conferences , webinars and one-to-one contacts with peers will continue to be important. There is a strong desire to return to in-person conferences and festivals. FCIA is working with our partners at NW Chocolate Festival (October 30-31 in Seattle) and Salon du Chocolat (November 20 in New York) to re-establish in person meetings towards the end of this year.
For more information on these events and FCIA discounts, please contact FCIA.