At the beginning of COVID-19 crisis, consumers around the world embarked on a panic buying spree which caused many shops to run out – estimates put the increase as high as 800%. Food manufacturers, suppliers and logistics companies responded quickly to replenish stocks. Overall, the supply chain, which is complex, adapted well and has remained robust, throughout.
The global food supply chain is valued at $8T, accounts for 10% of global GDP and imports feed four out of five people worldwide. We have seen some significant changes on the consumption side. People are cooking more, and restaurants are closed, which accounts for 33% of purchases and this will likely result in the percentage of disregarded food rising to 40%. Demand for certain types of food has also risen sharply, e.g. flour and yeast.
Potential delays may disrupt some of the supply chain in the months ahead as meat processing plants close for a period of time. We have already seen an increase in demand for plant-based substitutes.
Finally, border access has been restricted and this has caused some delays. Governments and companies are assessing ways to source new suppliers and trade routes. Exporters should assess the supply chain carefully for opportunities, be that packaging, shipping or general changes in food consumption. Food packaging is just one example.