The pandemic has had a major effect on the Food & Beverage industry. It has contributed from bare shelves and supply chain issues to changes in consumer behaviour to the manufacturing unit shutdowns. We still continue to encounter changes and challenges every single day. The lessons we learnt the year 2020 can help us to prepare for the future and we will have to adapt and evolve.
The Challenges Of Food Industry Landscape
Because of the crisis, the entire food industry and all parts of the supply chain have been impacted right from sourcing of the raw materials and packaging to logistics and consumers. Major food industry trade shows were cancelled or postponed along with important meetings leaving a big question mark hanging over the situation. Staying in touch virtually proved to be the best practice and will continue to do so this year as well. With consumers dining more from home, the food industry landscape saw a huge shift from food service to retail.
Switch To Local Brands
As we move into a new year, brands should ensure their raw materials and supply inventories, can cover any potential and unforeseen disruptions. It is critical to prepare well in advance for any future catastrophe. Even the retail industry and the major brands faced a lot of challenges as they went out-of-stock leading to consumers turning the alternative smaller, local brands. Manufacturers worked on increasing hours and scheduled capacity on production lines to maximize efficiencies to keep up until things return to normal. In the production phase, space reconfiguration and staggered shifts were adopted to limit contact and to maintain physical distancing. Yes, these steps were taken to keep shelves stocked, but still, the smaller brands got the opportunity to gain new loyal customers during this unprecedented time. Also, the transition to e-commerce became an avenue for increased exposure for brands.
The Change In Retail Sector
The retail sector made major headlines in 2020. In an effort to avoid crowds and due to the lockdown, many consumers began shifting their purchasing behaviours. Technology has made it easier for everyone as they can shop online whether it is grocery pickup, delivery or takeout. Foodservice has also not been exempt from the impact of the pandemic. With less dining out and more staying at home, restaurants, cafes, etc have had to adapt with major shifts in business operations.
In order to survive, restaurants have been creative, building welcoming and distanced environments, and delivering new services to diners. The technology was of tremendous help to limit touchpoints. Use of QR codes for menus and contactless ordering and payment options became the new norm.
To Sum Up
It is impossible to be certain what 2021 will bring, but what we at Equinox Labs think that it will require proactive planning and preparation. Since serving the food industry for more than 15 years now, we understand that how we react to changes in the next few months is critical to maintaining a strong and secure supply chain to ensure we continue smooth operations. We are a leading FSSAI Notified, NABL Accredited, and an ISO 9001:2015 Certified Food, Water, and Air Testing Laboratory and India’s largest Auditing Agency.