The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Food Industry

The Coronavirus crisis has had a major impact on the food industry. On one hand the demand for food has increased strongly, on the other hand, restricted working conditions have an impact on the productivity in food production plants. A recent survey conducted by Food Industry Executive highlights the challenges food processors and suppliers are facing and the processes they had to adjust to meet these challenges.

More than 41% of food processors are facing workforce issues. In many companies employees are afraid of getting infected with the Coronavirus. Food processers respond by providing protective equipment to their employees and conducting frequent cleaning procedures. Other challenges that food processors are facing are related to sales & marketing (23%) and the supply chain (16%). Especially the loss of production capability due to social distancing and new sanitizing procedures has a big impact on sales. In addition, the changing demand is creating a larger supply chain investment risk.

The inability to travel and make on-site visits has led to a drop in sales among suppliers. Around 35% of the suppliers state that this is the biggest challenge they face, followed by workforce issues (20%) and projects being delayed or canceled (9%). The fact that many people were forced to work from home meant that many face-to-face visits to do business couldn't be carried out. In some cases remote work sessions have lead to a decline in productivity.   

Due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, many food processers have responded by changing their processes and activities. In fact, almost three-quarters of processors stated that they changed their business strategy in response to the pandemic. Focusing on core products, improving employee safety and boosting the retail channel are the most common changes. On the supplier side, the situation looks very similar. Around 39% of equipment and service suppliers have stuck to their previous strategy despite the pandemic and the consequences of the crisis. Suppliers who have changed their processes and operations focused on adding new technology. The introduction of remote solutions is necessary in many areas to avoid personal contact and still keep the business running.

You will find the full report on the website of Food Industry Executive.

Do you know how to lower the Coronavirus risk in your production facility?