We are on track again to boost economy and ready to give maximum proportion to GDP again.
Globally, the food & beverage industry is expected to experience the differential impact of this rapid spreading COVID-19 on each stage of its value chain through the mediums of the affected workforce at industrial level, raw material supply (agricultural produce, food ingredients, intermediate food products), trade & logistics, demand-supply volatility and uncertain consumer demand at foodservice outlets—among other factors. Production, distribution, and inventory levels across the food & beverage industry spectrum are expected to be impacted.
The affected workforce in agricultural farms, food & beverage production & processing plants, and distribution network are analysed to run the risk of promoting the outbreak of COVID-19, the transmission of which can occur during various activities of co-ordination. There is also a potential risk of spreading the virus through mediums of product outputs, causing food safety concerns, when trade occurs between geographies and different stages of the supply chain, which has resulted in a labour shortage. The corporate level workforce is also at a high risk of being affected, owing to its constant exposure to different stakeholders in the industry, interaction with potentially affected public, and contact with coronavirus-affected persons. Travel bans imposed by several countries are also a contributing factor, affecting the availability of critical personnel required in key decision-making. The workforce can potentially affect business plans and industrial production of food & beverage products.
Implementing High Standards of Cleanliness & Hygiene
From farming to food production, processing, storage, supply and dine-in, businesses now need to implement effective social distancing & hygiene strategies. Some sectors need to completely transform their business model to cater to changing consumer behaviour and government norms. Of course, this would mean reduced work hours, less labourers, lower operational levels, and better cleanliness systems.
As consumers are emphasising more on contactless delivery and greater hygiene, cost will increase. However, in the long run, this will help respond to the coronavirus pandemic and recover effectively. An example of implementing safe and hygiene measures in the dine-in segment is changing menus to include combo meals and comfort food. Change in sitting arrangements, keeping social distancing in mind, is another aspect.
The overall objective of the food industry should be to focus on healthy products, hygiene maintenance, and safe deliveries.
Minimising Loss of Production & Profitability through Support
Due to global coronavirus pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and changes in demands, the domestic farming, manufacturing/processing and supply chain have witnessed significant loss. These losses can be minimised through government support for at least 6-12 months. For farmers, this can be in the form of aids like price support or productivity training. Support schemes should be implemented to aid supply for seasoned labourers, improving production and reducing costs for the time being.
For food production/processing and supply chain units, support should be in the form of maintenance and recovery. The government should implement and regulate definitive steps to help food businesses maintain liquidity and overcome from their losses. These will involve high deferral costs in the short run, but will be recovered over time.
From Dine-in to Delivery…Make the Shift