While the overall impact of COVID-19 looks to be slowing and food distributors are seeing increases in their output, the industry is still reeling from the devastating blow dealt by the pandemic. Some particular providers, as referenced by Plex Systems, have been trending upwards, influenced by the quarantine and the newfound public interest in personal health and food safety.
Companies who have seen growth have adapted to the current climate. Food producers have adjusted their production methods, either producing food and essentials at a higher rate or changing what they produce due to public need. Some of the more successful food producers have provided frozen food items, baked goods and, unsurprisingly, hand sanitizer. A large uptick in local suppliers and organic, plant-based substitutions have also marked the COVID-19 impact.
Equally unsurprising is the grave impact that the pandemic has had on the food service industry. Suppliers who mainly cater to the foodservice industry have been hit the hardest, as hotels and restaurants have been shuttered due to the social distancing practices the nation has adopted. Those who supply foods like potatoes or milk will have seen a drastic decrease in demand over the past few months. Meat suppliers have similarly suffered. Meat factories and farms are directly related to each other, and the factories have seen closures due to unsafe work conditions and inadequate safety measures from COVID-19. Over 15,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in relation to meatpacking plants, which may result in meat shortages.
Lost in much of the talk about food production is the state of the worker. Many of these individuals are exposed to COVID-19 unknowingly, creating a hazardous situation where workers may produce less and, in some cases, not produce at all.
However, some food industry providers that can meet food production needs are garnering clients left unsatisfied by their usual providers. Having the ability to adapt in the uncertainty of COVID-19 has proven to be the key to the staying power some food producers need.
While the world continues to deal with the impact of COVID-19, it is important to note that the negative trend does seem to have bottomed out. Food production percentages seem to be on the rise and the USDA has given cause to be hopeful of a turnaround.
Much of our lives have been affected in one way or another by COVID-19. The food industry is still a long way from getting back to normal. In spite of this, normalcy is slowly but surely reclaiming food production. It’s simply a matter of time.