WeiserMazars LLP, an accounting, tax and advisory services firm, held its third annual New Jersey Food & Beverage Forum on May 14 at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, where CEOs and top industry executives gathered to discuss the implications of successfully operating and continuing family-owned businesses amidst the food sector’s changing landscape. The panelists focused on the importance of authenticity, accountability and sustainability of business operations while facing challenges imperative to international growth.
The forum was comprised of moderator Judy Spires, President & CEO of AG Supermarket Holdings and distinguished panelists, Deepak Amin, Co-CEO of Deep Foods, Inc. and Andrew Gellert, President and Thomas Gellert, Principal of Gellert Global Group.
As second and third generation business leaders, panelists stressed the significance of delegating responsibilities and implementing planned strategies to effectively meet and overcome anticipated challenges in the industry, specifically succession planning. Strong family values both in home and work cultures combined with strong work ethics and the freedom to choose alternative career paths were noted as key factors in securing future generations’ participation in the business.
The group discussed the significance of weighing potential risks against company growth which spearheads opportunities for product development, manufacturing and distribution both locally and globally. Other common themes noted among panelists included the imminent challenges often faced by family-owned and entrepreneurial businesses in the food and beverage industry: supply chain management, food safety regulations, labor laws and taxation.
The biggest new trend toward future expansion for Deep Foods Inc. and Gellert Global Group is seen in the fresh food sector as consumers move away from frozen foods to adopt a more health-conscious lifestyle. Both companies acknowledged the importance of adapting and adding new products to meet the changing needs of their customers.