By: Editorial Staff, Date: June 15th, 2021
Even though the COVID-19 vaccine is allowing the world to return to some degree of normalcy, industries across the spectrum are continuing to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While supply chains in almost every industry are stressed, few industries have been impacted as heavily as the food industry.
There are a number of reasons why the food industry is currently struggling to keep up with the demand, and the first of those reasons is the fact that demand is skyrocketing. People across the United States are now returning to restaurants in droves, and demand for food products has never been higher.
Higher than predicted demand is always enough to stress a supply chain, but high demand combined with low availability is an especially concerning problem. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, suppliers in the food industry were forced to scale back their operations due to low demand. Now that demand for food products has rebounded faster than anyone could have imagined, these suppliers that scaled back operations are struggling to keep up.
The rising costs of food products in addition to the rising costs of transportation are both stressing the food industry’s supply chain as well. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, for instance, cites a pizza restaurant in Indiana that has watched the price of pepperoni jump 60% in just five weeks. The same article goes on to explain how the per-mile cost of refrigerated transport has also risen 20% since February 2021.
The final issue that is stressing the food industry’s supply chain is a lack of workers. Many of the employees who stopped working during the pandemic have still yet to return to work, and a reduced workforce makes it all the more difficult for companies to keep up with demand.
All of these conditions have created a multi-faceted problem for the food industry. And, unfortunately, there is little that businesses such as grocers and restaurants can do at this point except to ride out the storm and wait for supply to finally catch up with demand.