COVID-19 and the Food Supply Chain: What are the Pandemic’s Effects on the U.S. Food Supply

people with face mask

The global health crisis has put before us a lot of concerns that we never thought we would worry about at this time. Most folks are now worried about food supplies and their safety. While there is no substantial proof yet that the food — even organic ones — can transmit the novel coronavirus to humans, people are now showing concerns about the food supply chain.

According to a survey conducted by G&S Business Communications with over a thousand people, 77% of Americans today worry about food availability, 69% worry about food safety, and 58% think of its affordability. The same survey also found that across the board, Americans ponder about how they will feed their families at this time.

The Food Supply Chain during the Pandemic

food supply

Food supply chain experts and analysts say that when a crisis has a major impact on a supply network, from source to destination, it will have repercussive effects on a global scale.

In this case, if the said crisis affects the food chain source — like a livestock farm such as Deseret Ranches or an erosion control blanket-covered farm in Utah — and the distribution and retail centers, the entire upstream and downstream processes will be interrupted.

With the standstill caused by the global health crisis, we are now faced with its consequential impacts such as a direct hit on our food production source, the price increase in food products, and the retailers who are also dealing with the negative effects of it from the procurement of goods down to its distribution. Simply put, because the pandemic has taken people out of their workplaces with the closure of plants, we’re looking at a possible food shortage.

While our food supply chain is one of the hardest-hit aspects of our economy, we should not give in to fear and anxiety about it. Even before the pandemic hit us, a lot of U.S.-based retailers have put themselves in a position where they are in control of every aspect of the food supply chain by either owning farms to supply their manufacturing demands or by partnering with local vendors to ensure the quality and safety of their goods.

For retailers that do not own farms or local supply sources, what they do is work closely with trusted and reliable suppliers to help meet the market’s needs. Of course, suppliers need to pass a vendor evaluation test before they can partner with a retailer. There are other follow-up processes like audits and subcontracting before the products get to their destinations.

The challenges presented — like lack of manpower at manufacturing plants and logistics — are important things that should be addressed at this time. No workers, no supplies. These challenges contribute to the pandemic’s adverse effects on our food supply.

What’s important now is we do what we can to manage things on our end. Look for alternative sources of income and plan our meals properly. We can only work with what we can control. The rest, we leave up to those who have the authority and power to make things happen in hopes that they will do right by us.

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