Food and Beverage Seasonality in Demand Planning and Forecasting

Line Art

Restaurants and niche food suppliers run the gamut on seasonal product offerings. No longer prohibited by growing seasons (thanks to global food supply chains), most seasonality in food and beverage is now demand-driven. Brands like Blue Moon and Sam Adams offer summer variety packs, even though the citrus flavors are available year-round. Nostalgia and novelty keep these products seasonal, even when the supply capability is relatively steady. Now that the months of pumpkin spice and eggnog-flavored everything are over, January brings a resolution-based spike in the food industry: the diet season.

As brands work to predict the ebbs and flows of 2019 food and beverage demand, there are a few questions to address to get the most accurate statistical forecasts for your product demand.  You have the data, trends, market research, risk analysis, and other factors to help you develop the forecast, but you may be overlooking key factors that could potentially have a big impact:

  • Will this product demand be influenced by external factors like weather or holidays?
  • Does this product follow classic or quasi-seasonal patterns?
  • Is this impacted by geography (demographic and social trends, regional preferences, macroeconomic environment, regulatory actions)?
  • Can it be identified as seasonal riser/decliner or sustained riser/decliner (growing year over year or sudden growth within the past months)?
  • What consumer behaviors are trending that may have an impact?
  • What new or up-and-coming technology trends will impact demand (the increasing use of third-party mobile food delivery and digital coupons, for example)?
  • How is the product marketed to consumers compared to the industry standard (price-point driven for value consumers, or appeals to another segmented market)?
  • What will the consumer demand for a new or limited time offer product be?

As you work through product seasonality predictions, keep in mind that Vanguard Software has a team of demand forecasting experts ready to help fine-tune your forecasts and automate your demand planning.