Consumer behavior, as well as demographics and environmental awareness, has significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has had a tremendous impact on the global food supply chain, as well as the reefer technology and cold chain management that supports it. It has also resulted in a new normal for people to work from home, along with many new opportunities for businesses.
Consumers Are Embracing Digital Technology
Buyers are increasingly shopping for food items online, to a large extent out of necessity. Generations that wouldn’t have considered buying things without first touching and feeling them are now getting to realize the comfort of picking from a variety of goods over the internet, getting items delivered to them with minimal human contact.
The pandemic has also resulted in a significant shift in consumer demand away from food service and restaurants and towards food consumed at home, leading to changes in the way food supply chains operate. This changing pattern of consumer behavior means that as more people are working from home, they will cook more from home and use tech-driven home delivery services.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Food Supply Chains
The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strains on food supply chains, posing issues in farm labor supply, processing, and transport and logistics, as well as substantial shifts in demand.
The impact of COVID-19 on food supply chains is less pronounced in primary food production and overall demand, but more pronounced in the complex web of supply chain actors from producers to consumers, and the sudden changes in demand mix.
Most of these disruptions have resulted from policies intended to contain the spread of the virus. However, food supply chains have shown remarkable resilience in the face of these stresses. Also, grocery stores have been replenished as supply chains respond to increased demand and as stockpiling behavior dwindled.
While the impact of COVID-19 is still developing, experience so far shows the imperative of an open and predictable international trade environment to make sure food can move as fast as possible to where it is needed.
As global lockdowns and travel restrictions have loosened, more people have realized the possibilities of technology and eCommerce in facilitating food delivery and the entire food supply chain, prompting them to embrace this new normal.
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