Published 20 April 2020
While some businesses in the food industry are seeing significant revenue and job losses, producers of food staples are seeing dramatic increases in demand and are working over-time to keep up.
April 20, 2020 — Major household names in the food industry, such as Campbell Soup Company and Kraft Heinz Canada, are working vigorously to ensure that they are producing adequate supply to support the growing demand for their products. With many Canadians staying close to home, and thousands without work due to business closures during the pandemic, there has been a dramatic surge in the purchase of non-perishable products, including canned soups, sauces and condiments. As a result, food retailers such as grocery stores and supermarkets are ordering more of these products in order to keep their shelves adequately stocked.
Campbell’s has reported that they are working 24/7 now to keep their production output in line with the demands from consumers. Normally the company has a surge in business during the winter months, but by springtime they see a drop off. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this drop off has not occurred but rather the company is seeing the production efforts increase significantly. Beth Jolly, who isvice-president of communications at Campbell’s meal and beverages division has statedthat in March the company saw a immense jump of 366% in case orders in one week. The impressive thing about this statistic is that these orders are more than the company sees in a usual month of orders.
Kraft Heinz Canada is seeing the same trends in their business as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have far-reaching effects throughout Canada. The company has had to start operating their Montreal facility 24/7 in order to increase their productivity. This facility accounts for 90% of the food that Kraft Heinz Canada produces for Canadian consumers.
This ramp up in production is not without its challenges. Kraft has stated that demand is down from restaurants which means that they are ramping up their production that is geared towards grocery stores. This requires a lot of work as switching production lines does take time and effort. However, the company needs to switch their efforts to where the demand is coming from, and right now that demand is coming from the food retail sector.
Other challenges include getting the larger amount of products to food distributions centres and grocery stores. Trucks to transport goods are in high-demand right now and there is not enough to transport the increased amount of goods that these food manufacturers are putting out. This can lead to large quantities just sitting and waiting to be transported, leading to an immense backlog.
The current issues being faced by food manufactures point to the greater problems experienced by the food system as a whole as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. All parts of the food system are interconnected and solving one problem can create other problems down the line. As food producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers all adjust to the changing COVID-19 climate, they must also make adjustments to each other as each part in the system pivots in order to survive the crisis.