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Editor's Note: Consumer Spending & Business Innovation Foster Growth

The food/agri-business and the biopharma sectors were among those experiencing growth in 2021, spurred by innovations brought about during the pandemic.

Q4 2021
Despite challenges being experience in the supply chain, as the year comes to a close, the Conference Board projects that 2021 annual growth will come in at 5.5 percent (year-over-year), although growth will slow to 3.5 percent (year-over-year) in 2022 and 2.9 percent (year-over-year) in 2023. A resurgence in COVID-19 cases and rising interest rates in response to inflation are deemed responsible for this moderation in growth; nonetheless an expansion in consumer spending will still drive economic growth. Among the industries that have experienced growth this past year are the food/agri-business and the bio/pharma sectors.

This year has been a busy one for the construction of new facilities in the food/agri-business sector — up 40 percent over 2020 in the first seven months of the 2021, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Additionally, online purchasing of food surged from 4.5 percent of market share to 12.5 percent as of January 2021. This has had a tremendous effect on food processing and distribution companies that now need to expand their cold chain logistics and automation systems.

As for the bio/pharma sector, in addition to the vaccines and hundreds of tests, drugs, and devices granted emergency use authorization during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deloitte, there are more than 900 companies across the globe focused on advanced biopharma therapies and more than 1,000 cell and gene therapy clinical trials under way. In order to keep up with this biology-based innovation, biomanufacturing organizations are expanding their footprints. These organizations need to be in proximity to research and development (R&D) facilities, supply partners, and a qualified labor pool, among other considerations. A highly educated and highly trained workforce is vital to the success of these innovative operations.

These innovative companies, among others, are finding success in so-called hubs or corridors of innovation that provide access to research and medical institutions, other large companies and startups, experts in their respective fields, and the entrepreneurs who bring new ideas to market. They put together the resources needed for innovative companies to survive and thrive.

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