It’s been an extraordinary and memorable year, if mostly for the wrong reasons. Now the end is in sight, it’s fair to say that the impact on the food & drinks manufacturing industry has been mixed – the most notable casualty being suppliers to hospitality of course, with pubs and leisure facilities having a torrid time.

Mere rumbles in the financial markets tend to affect confidence and subsequently investment, let alone the seismic plunges we’ve recorded this year. Many of the businesses we’ve spoken to throughout 2020 have reported that they’ve shelved investment in equipment, R&D and, begrudgingly, even people, due to uncertainty and the lack of appetite from traditional lenders to offer support.

But in the aftermath of adversity comes opportunity. And opportunity is venture capitalists’ food and drink (quite literally in this case). We’re already seeing what I believe is the beginning of a wave of pent-up investment closing in. October gave us a taste of what was to come, with Eight Fifty Food Group, which is backed by CapVest Partners, announcing its acquisition of Greenland Seafood. Then, in November, household name Hovis was acquired by Endless Capital at around the same time that PAI Partners was finalising the small print on a deal to bring chilled food specialists Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby into its fold. Of course, new ownership brings more than a new injection of cash. It brings new aspirations, targets and many new personnel additions.

Hitting the ground running

While blind luck may have been the main factor in whether you’ve been a winner or a loser in this pandemic, the return to normality will mean success is once again down to the simple matter of finding the right people to take the business forward. And yes, you read correctly, I did write ‘simple’. Because the team at Circle Select makes what’s surely one of the hardest tasks of all – quickly recruiting exceptionally talented interim or permanent senior people who share your ambitions and ethos – a refreshingly easy process. From a new CEO to highly skilled temporary support, we know the candidates you should speak with. We even help you cut through red tape more adroitly than a well-drilled C-list celeb opening a shopping centre, courtesy of our IR35 service. Where before this legislation was about as easy to grasp as the infamous Rule of Six, we can manage the whole process to make sure you stay the right side of the powers that be.

This has been a time of challenge like no other and, with only a slow recovery predicted, the smart money seems to be heading to the relatively recession-proof industries like food & drink manufacturing, which should bounce back better than most. Prepare for a mini-boom. And trust us to help you find the people who’ll be your gunpowder.

Jacob Harwood – Commercial Director

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