Coronavirus: food industry SMEs hardest hit after hospitality, leisure

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food and drink SMEs reported an average loss of 52% of their monthly business income
Food and drink SMEs reported an average loss of 52% of their monthly business income

Related tags: coronavirus, Finance

Coronavirus has hit small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food industry harder than any other sector, bar hospitality and leisure, according to research commissioned by specialist bank Aldermore.

The analysis indicates that SMEs in the sector have on average lost 52% of their monthly business income. That compares with similar companies in hospitality and leisure, which had lost an average of 54% of their monthly income, the bank claimed. 

All sectors in the UK have faced massive challenges, with the average SME losing more than a third (34%) of monthly business income as a result of the crisis.

“Conditions are extremely tough for UK businesses at the moment,"​ said Tim Boag, group managing director, business finance at Aldermore. "The pandemic has resulted in companies within the hardest hit sectors struggling to survive.

Time to recover

“Small changes within a business can go a long way in preserving much needed capital. Even when the lockdown eases, business income will take time to recover and SMEs must continue to adapt to the ‘new norm’."​ 

Innovation had been one of the key factors influencing the impact the pandemic has had on businesses, Aldermore said. SMEs in the manufacturing sector had been the most likely to have made adjustments to their business as a direct result of COVID-19 (56%). Unfortunately, even by adapting their businesses, 11% of businesses believed they could only survive under current circumstances for about five months.

The research was conducted by Opinium Research between 23 and 30 April 2020 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,000 senior decision makers in UK SMEs.

Sector

% change in income as a result of COVID-19

Number of months before businesses are damaged long-term

Hospitality & leisure

-54

4

Food & drink

-52

4

Wholesale, retail & franchising

-41

5

Construction

-40

4

Media

-34

4

Professional services

-34

5

Healthcare

-32

4

Transport

-32

5

Business services

-31

4

Education

-31

5

Manufacturing

-28

6

IT & computing

-23

4

Real estate

-23

6

Legal service

-11

4

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