Where Will The Food Come From?

Monday, April 13, 2020
By Paul Martin

By Bruce Fenton
APRIL 13, 2020

Risks of Food Shortages Resulting from Supply Chain Issues

The chaos and Nth order effects of the virus and the reaction to it have created risks in all aspects of life. Food is such a crucial need that we must examine any risks related to it. We are told that there is plenty of food, but what does that mean? US food supply, like all other aspects of our society is both complex and fragile. While we have the capability of producing enough food to feed the country, we need to also be able to deliver it and produce it in a manner that makes it usable.

Normally, about half of all U.S. food and agricultural products end up in direct to consumer markets including supermarkets, grocery and retail stores. The other half is purchased and distributed by the wholesale commercial and food service sector. This includes restaurants, schools, institutions, and the hospitality industry (including hotels, resorts, cruise ships, all primarily driven by tourism). The shut-down of many non-essential businesses, the closure of schools and universities and the issuance of stay-at-home orders and travel bans in states across the country have caused the demand for food products normally distributed through the commercial supply chain to come to a grinding halt. At the same time, the demand for food products in the grocery/retail sector has soared with some distribution warehouses running at 200% to 500% their average capacity for this time of year[1]. This extreme shift in demand and our inability to swiftly adapt our established distribution and supply chains to it is what currently poses the greatest threat to the food supply in the U.S.

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