According to the Mazars 2018 Food & Beverage Industry Results Report, most food and beverage companies anticipate a significant jump in sales this year, for the third straight year.

The report — released by Mazars USA, an accounting, tax and consulting services firm — says that 90 percent of survey respondents expect growth in sales, while 84 percent expect growth in profit and 69 percent expect growth in employment. The respondents said the main expected influencers are new customers, improves sales performance and new products.

The top trends expected to drive sales growth are private label foods, healthy/nutritious foods and organic foods. The biggest internal concern for respondents was increasing sales while the top external concerns were rising commodity costs, food safety/traceability and quality assurance.

"The dynamic nature of the food & beverage industry continues to challenge organizations looking for growth," says Howard P. Dorman, a partner with Mazars. "Through this survey, we're pleased to provide executives with comprehensive insight into potential industry drivers and best practices to stay ahead of the competition."

The survey delved into performance, planning, and challenges facing food and beverage companies, as well as addressing how they are adapting to changing consumer trends, tax changes, new companies entering the field, and new product and service offerings. Responses were sorted by organization size, providing more nuanced insights. Survey participants included manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors, restaurateurs and retailers/supermarkets representing a range of annual sales volumes from $1 million or less to more than $500 million.