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When shoppers are looking to pick up a few ingredients for dinner but are met with an empty shelf, frustration kicks in. However, when food shortages start to become a long-term issue and it begins to affect sales, it becomes a serious problem for everyone—customers and businesses. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, foodservice providers have been one of the most widely affected by food supply chain shortages.

Although you may not be able to control every aspect of the current food supply shortage, like fewer farmers growing food or the lack of food making it to the stores, there are a few things you can control. One of the most important steps you can take is to invest in ways to keep your food fresh for longer and eliminate food waste. At Hubert, we offer a wide range of food storage options to maintain the freshness of your food.

Stages of the Food Supply Chain

Routine Maintenance

Nearly every person who consumes food or relies on food for their business depends on the food supply chain, whether they realize it or not. Whether you're worried about the safety of the food you're purchasing for your business and if it's meeting the normal standards of previous times or simply want to understand why shortages are occurring, understanding the process of the food supply chain is key.

The process may vary, depending on the type of item, how far it needs to travel between its point of origin, and where it grew and where it's being sold. To cut down on timing, many business owners and consumers are choosing, when possible, to buy their goods from local farmers.

There are several steps of the food supply chain, including:

  1. Land use/farming and agricultural production
  2. Post-harvest handling and processing
  3. Transportation and distribution
  4. Packaging
  5. Retail service/sales
  6. Consumption

Implications of Covid-19 on the Food Supply Chain

Before the pandemic, there were many systems used to regulate the food supply chain, such as safety and protective measures, sanitization, and regular inspections. The circumstances of the pandemic have turned the food supply chain upside down, wreaking havoc on every stage and step involved along the way from planting seeds to delivering food to a grocery store to serving food in restaurants, hospitals, schools, and hotels.

Unfortunately, all of the health and safety concerns have increased the regulatory need for sanitization, reducing the number of people that can work in any given environment, and impacted the safe preparation and delivery of goods. People who have fallen ill from Covid-19 can no longer work, any person who tests positive or has symptoms of Covid-19 cannot be around food, and many people have no longer been able to operate their businesses. This means that many operators in the food supply chain have been taken out, causing shortages and prices for food and ingredients to go up; way up in some cases.

Navigating Food Supply Shortages During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Your establishment has found ways to cope with higher prices and food shortages during the pandemic so far, but it has likely affected your bottom line. Whether you had to shut down completely or switch to take-out only for a month or two, you have likely evaluated your expenses, changed your food spending budget, and even changed your menu.

There are a few ways that you can navigate the uncertainties of the food supply chain and these unpredictable times:

  1. Purchase energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers for your establishment
  2. Have plenty of food storage on hand to keep ingredients fresh for longer
  3. Buy items locally when possible, so they don't have to travel from far away
  4. Stay up-to-date on Covid-19 regulations and food supply chain updates
  5. Offer grab-and-go and pre-packaged options, such as fruit, oatmeal, or cereals

Sustaining Your Business During Supply Chain Disruptions

Currently, there is a lot of ambiguity with where the world is headed with the state of Covid-19 and regulations. You deserve to have some control over your establishment's ability to operate. While there are many substitute items people can turn to when they can't find them in stores, food is not usually one of them, especially fresh ingredients.

There is no way to know for certain when the pandemic will be completely over or when the food supply chain will be back to normal or what that normal will look like. The best way to set yourself up for success is to prepare for a long-term recovery that will sustain your business.

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Account Development Managers

Meet Hubert

For 75 years we've helped foodservice providers overcome unique challenges with our industry expertise and line of products, including food storage, displayware, décor, signage, bar & beverage, food prep equipment, large commercial equipment, ice machines, merchandisers, and so much more.

If you want to create a better food experience, implement new food programs, and drive more sales, Hubert can help.