COVID-19 Updates

Regular updates on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the food industry

As the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus impact us all, we're sharing informative and useful resources below! 

 
A Summary of the Changes We Witnessed in Recent Months
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected our food systems. The changing circumstances presented many new challenges and forced the food ecosystem to change and adapt. Several overlying trends have emerged from the information we shared below.
 

Supply Chains
Initial uncertainty resulted in many consumers stockpiling. Some foods were affected more than others, and consumer trends changed over time. The fast-changing demands left many manufacturers and the logistics sector struggling to keep up. Travel and transport restrictions coupled with health and safety concerns of the workforce only exacerbated the situation. Governmental assurances and measures were introduced in order to alleviate these difficulties. As a result, businesses everywhere became increasingly aware of the global interdependency and complexity of their supply chains. 
 

Food Waste
As lockdowns continued, the catering industry largely remained inactive. Many farmers found themselves with surplus produce causing food to pile up in warehouses as the bulk wholesale demand diminished. Food distribution issues affected most countries and international organisations have repeatedly warned of shocks to agriculture and the food system affecting poorer nations the hardest.
Despite excess produce, developing nations also saw an increasing number of people faced with less food availability and security. Subsequently, a number of charities and food banks are currently working towards a better redistribution of food.
 
 
Changing Consumer Trends
With many people spending increasing time at home, consumers rediscovered their kitchens. With more cooking at home and fewer trips to the grocery store, food habits during COVID-19 shifted considerably. As a result of the health crisis, the health and safety of foods became a priority and overall health and wellbeing a greater concern. 
 
Numerous studies were conducted on the impact of the pandemic on our eating habits. Locally produced foods as well as organic and natural products saw boosts in sales. Particularly products and supplements believed to support the immune system were in high demand. Plant-based and alternative protein sources are seen as an opportunity due to being perceived as healthier and safer than conventional meat by many. Although snacking and comfort foods saw demand early on during lockdowns, overall a greater focus on nutrition was observed as people focused on staying healthy. 
 
As more people stayed home and spent time connected to the internet, buying groceries online and meal kit delivery services received increased interest. Lee Holdstock from the Soil Association commented on the impact in the UK, “Looking at the impact on the market in general, it’s been very busy for food processors that continue to supply supermarkets and sell products online ...We’ve witnessed significant growth in orders with some of our home delivery scheme licensees.” 
 
 
Innovations Needed in our Food System
The fragility and issues within our global food system were laid bare during the pandemic. The situation proved to be “quite a remarkable rehearsal,” in order to face further challenges, Ylenia Tommasato from Barilla Group explained to foodcircle. The need to move to more flexible, local and circular value chains has been raised. Sustainability, health as well as greater stakeholder and consumer equality should be prioritised to keep up with the food demands of the world’s growing population. Particularly the implementation of blockchain, the increased automation of agriculture and food processing are important while emerging agri-food technologies help innovate current foods and production practices. 
 
The pandemic is seen as a catalyst of change and is forcing large and small businesses to get creative. In his interview with foodcircle, Michaël Wilde, Director of Bionext described this change well, stating “COVID-19 also presents opportunities, and we can see that the organic sector is resilient in thinking about how to adapt to this new situation. We see certification bodies starting to do online inspections and providing certification with the help of e-tools. We also see that many of our farmers managed to reorganise themselves quite quickly by moving from direct sales to box schemes, or by moving from providing foods to hotels and restaurants to providing ready-to-eat food for consumers. “ The uptake of technological solutions by the food industry is supporting changing demands and trends.  
 

Guidelines and Resources
In light of COVID-19, several institutions and organisations have posted guidelines and shared further resources for businesses in the food industry. These included guidelines to protect workers and support food businesses during COVID-19 and how to respond to the pandemic as a business focusing on natural ingredients and more.
 

 
8th July 2020 
The Farming and Food Supply in Europe - Internet of Food and Farm 2020
The special issue of their magazine outlines the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the challenges faced by the food and farming sector. Covering issues such as the changes in demand, workforce restrictions, delivery constraints and the need for digital tools. 
 
 
29th June 2020 
CBI provides guidelines on immediate actions to prepare for successfully doing business during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The governmentally funded agency supports enterprises by giving advice for businesses focusing on natural ingredients for the cosmetics sector. Further guidelines list actionable steps for companies in the cacao sector, how to respond to COVID-19 in the natural ingredients for health products sector as well as providing further information for businesses regarding coronavirus. 
 
 
28th June 2020
Changing food demands during the pandemic have challenged the food system. An online course is being offered by The European Institute of Innovation and Technology to allow for a better understanding of the stakeholders and dynamics impacting our food supply chains. The course also addresses which measures are implemented to support supply chains as well as how greater food system resilience can be built. 
 
 
24th June 2020
A monthly survey conducted in the UK is tracking consumer behaviour during COVID-19. The first two waves of the survey revealed an increasing preference for locally produced foods. Furthermore, due to less food availability and security, more people reported eating foods past their sell-by date and throwing less food away. While the use of food sharing apps remained constant, respondents reported buying fewer takeaways due to financial reasons as well as health and safety concerns. 
 
As many have cut back on their travelling for the summer months, Kerry Ingredients and Flavours found that consumers are looking to experience "geo-based" flavours and tastes instead. Familiar and international flavours, such as those of tropical fruits are expected to increase in foods. Additionally, exotic regional flavours are being discovered such as the Spanish drink Horchata and the moringa plant. 
 
 
23rd June 2020 
COVID-19 highlighted the need for the use of technology to improve our food system. Particularly the implementation of blockchain, the increased automation of agriculture and food processing as well as the application of emerging food technologies seem increasingly relevant. 
 
 
19th June 2020
During the beginning of COVID-19, consumers stocking up caused organic sales to jump by up to 50 percent, while recorded sales this spring were 20 percent higher than usual. This week, the 2020 Organic Industry Survey revealed that US organic food sales were around $50.1 billion, up by 4.6 percent. Meanwhile organic non-food sales totaled just over $5 billion and saw an increase of 9.2 percent. The record sales indicate a growing popularity of organic products, providing new opportunities for the industry as more consumers focus on their health and safety in light of the pandemic. 
 
 
16th June 2020
The Spanish COVIDiet Study found slight changes in food choices during the country's coronavirus lockdown. Online respondents claimed to gravitate more towards foods typical of the Mediterranian diet. As a result, consumers claimed to be eating less fried and fast foods, red meat, sweet beverages, pastries and snacks, however it remains unsure how long these changes will last. 
 
The German Market Prefers Salty Snacks - FoodIngredientsFirst 
Market intelligence suggests that particularly during COVID-19 German consumers are enjoying salty and indulgent snacks. A slow shift towards healthier and plant-based options is taking place, suggesting that in the future more indulgent but also healthy snacks may be demanded. 
 
 
13th June 2020 
Although European meatpacking plants also saw coronavirus outbreaks, these were considerably smaller than those experienced in the US. Noticeable differences in the political approach, industry structures and worker protections have lead to divergent scenarios. While US meatpacking companies are tendentially larger and workers cite a great pressure to return to work, smaller plants with slower production line speeds are more typical of Europe. Although worker health and safety and the public good were announced to be at the forefront of the response worker transportation and living conditions did often not allow for social distancing and may have caused virus transmissions. 
 
 
10th June 2020
As the food system is adapting to recent changes in demand, such as increased global competition for certain foods and a recent boost in locally-produced foods, prices may rise. The BBC takes a closer look at how the fish and seafood, cheddar, frozen food and the catering industries are coping with the challenges of the pandemic in the UK.  
 
Experts from Food Ingredients Europe suggest that foods perceived as healthy but indulgent are in increasingly popular. Although making indulgent food products functional is an opportunity, experts warn that understanding consumers beliefs and motivations is essential to success. Businesses also need to consider the trade-offs between health and wellness, sustainability, comfort and convenience. Furthermore, to succeed companies need to learn how to build brands that survive short-term trends and high or unrealistic consumer expectations, particularly in regard to immunity-boosting ingredients popular in light of COVID-19. 
 
 
9th June 2020
A recovery plan has been published for the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. The document outline's the industry's main aims in order to maximize trade balance, transition the area to healthier diets and work towards animal and environmental integrity gains.  
 
With changing work and lifestyle habits, consumers have adjusted their sports and sports nutrition. More time at home has reduced the need for convenience products and the cancellation of sporting events has impacted demand. As a result, the use of performance nutrition products have gone down, protein powders usage remains constant. Increasing e-commerce and online presence have highlighted the opportunity for more virtual events. 
 
 
5th June 2020
Many believe COVID-19 to be a catalyst for plant-based proteins, however, agricultural innovation and development experts caution the sector not to follow traditional high-input, high-output economies of scale nor to rely on monocultures. Instead, an initial focus on sustainable, regenerative and biodiverse production as well as inclusive business models will help the sector avoid mistakes larger existing sectors are facing.  
 
 
4th June 2020 
A poll by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) during the pandemic has shown that consumers are remaining loyal to organic products. Such products are associated with greater health and safety. Although consumers are prioritizing certain products over others, many are willing to expand their organic consumption, trying new products and brands and expect a long-term change in behaviour. 
 
Habits regarding the purchasing of food and drink adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to remain after the end of the lockdown. These include planning meals, shopping less frequently as well as more at local stores. Changes in cooking and food hygiene habits were also observed.
 
 
3rd June 2020 
Since the start of COVID-19, consumers are more focused on their health in a more holistic way by showing interest in nutrition preventative health and overall healthier lifestyles. The circumstances of the pandemic show that more is spent online and more activities are being completed via the internet. This greater online focus, coupled with more careful and deliberate spending, has also lead to consumers seeking a greater emotional experience in connection to brands. 
 
 
2nd June 2020
Current Challenges in the Food Industry - Food Industry Executive 
The survey particularly highlights the experience of food processors, packagers and equipment suppliers during the pandemic. Although sales, marketing and supply chain issues were reported, the substantial challenge facing most processors were workforce-related. Suppliers were primarily found to be tackling decreased sales. Nevertheless, the majority of businesses interviewed expected the impact on revenue to be minor and predict to come out of the pandemic stronger. 
 
 
29th May 2020
Recent polls suggest that in Germany, more people are cooking at home since the start of the pandemic, for many this included cooking healthier or vegetarian dishes. Although no immediate effect has yet been observed as a result of meat industry shutdowns, a tendency to eat less meat has been observed over the past years. How the pandemic will affect this tendency has yet to be seen. This year's Nutrition Report by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has also found an increased interest in local foods
 
 
28th May 2020
Often the single cheapest source of a commodity in supply chains, a practice that is likely to change as a result of the coronavirus. Diversification will drive companies to look at many sources for their food ingredients such as New Zealand and South America, not just China and India. Possible shortages, domestic sourcing and current co-packing strains are further possible impacts. 
 
 
26th May 2020
Opportunities for Plant-Based Foods - FoodIngredientsFirst
As plant-based foods are often seen as being healthier, industry insiders are expecting more people to seek out such alternatives. Particularly plant-based sources of protein are expected to see an increase in demand. Coupled with consumer desire to eat comfort food and a reduced willingness to pay, might drive extensive innovation in the plant-based sector. Businesses, such as Danish brand Naturli’, are expecting a considerable expansion in plant-based proteins over the coming years. 
 
 
22nd May 2020 
A Rise in Demand for Natural Ingredients in Cosmetics - Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI)
The agency partnered with Ecovia Intelligence and found that due to the current pandemic consumers are looking for natural ingredients possessing antibacterial or antiviral qualities. These ingredients, such as aloe vera, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, are used in soaps and sanitizing products. 
 
 
21st May 2019 
New and updated checklists have been released for businesses in the food and beverage industry by the UK governmental agency. Included are checklists for the planning and preparation for starting work, site checks, equipment checks, product and ingredient checks as well as resources for employee and public safety. 
 
 
20th May 2019 
The market intelligence firm released a lengthy report on the broader implications of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour. The company looks at shifting behaviour already observed in China on account of COVID-19. Among these trends, a move to more fresh food and purchasing food online is expected in the long term and is predicted have a greater impact on the dynamics of the German grocery market than in the UK. 
 
 
19th May 2020 
Although supermarket shelves were misleadingly empty a few months ago, food industry warehouses are full. Food is pilling up, going unused and being thrown away as the bulk wholesale demand from the foodservice industry has been diminished since the start of nationwide lockdowns. In a short video expose, the BBC shows the sheer scale of food going to waste. 
 
 
18th May 2020 
The COVID-19 pandemic has blatantly exposed the issues within our food ecosystems. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is now warning that, unless carefully managed, it will continue to amplify several issues even further. As consumer behaviour changed and supply chains slowed down, the availability of food was increasingly questioned. Coupled with a lack of labour and logistics hampering supply, food prices may rise sharply and some countries are putting protectionist measures in place as a result. The WEF suggests such behaviour will only exacerbate the current situation. 
 
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) needs assistance in the sum of $350 million (around €320 million) as a widespread impact on food security is likely. In addition to a lack of food in impoverished nations, aggravated by rising food prices, local agriculture and food supplies are further at risk due to the widespread effects of the pandemic. 
 
 
15th May 2020 
Future Food Trends - FoodNavigator
The platforms latest podcast discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the food industry as consumer priorities change, local sourcing increases and technology is helping food businesses stay resilient. 
 
 
14th May 2020 
Sales of products certified as "fairtrade" have increased over the last year. More importantly, the money from fairtrade premiums is essential in currently helping fight the novel coronavirus. 
 
African Smallholder Farmers Particularly Vulnerable - FoodNavigator
Many agricultural commodities are harvested and farmed in Africa, including nuts, coffee and cocoa. Due to inadequate healthcare, not only livelihoods but also lives are at greater risk across the continent. 
 
 
13th May 2020
As a law firm supporting innovation, Bird & Bird, clarifies important questions concerning EU competition law, to help facilitate industry cooperation. The firm has also previously released guidance for employers in Germany during the pandemic. 
 
The European Institute of Innovation & Technology has recently launched two funding opportunities to further support the agrifood sector in Europe. One fund supports innovation in startups and scaleups which deliver rapid and significant societal as well as the economic impact on the food system. The most recent, the COVID-19 Bridge Fund for EU agrifood startups, supports startups working towards EIT Food’s focus areas. These areas include circular food system, sustainable agriculture and alternative proteins.
 
The UK governmental agency provides advice for farmers, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses reopening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
 
12th May 2020
After months of trade fairs having to postpone or cancel shows around the world, Germany might be one of the first countries to reallow such events. B2B tradeshows and conventions could restart however, dates may vary according to the federal states and conditions. 
 
 
11th May 2020
While most people are staying at home, cooking and baking have reportedly risen and the industry even experienced a shortage of yeast as a result. The organic and plant-based sectors have also seen increased sales, especially the plant-based meat sector shows promise according to industry insiders. Other data, however, suggest increasing alcohol sales and a higher interest in food deliveries. As a result, are the conditions of the pandemic polarizing the way we eat and how long are these habits here to stay? 
 
 
10th May 2020
As an independent non-profit NGO and platform, the Agricultural and Rural Convention 2020, is committed to better farming, food, rural and environmental policy and practice in Europe. ARC2020 reflects how COVID-19 will impact farming, rural policies, including the EU's CAP, as well as their work as an NGO in the industry. 
 
 
8th May 2020
Despite continuing demand, the European organic sector faces additional challenges during COVID-19. Transport and travel restrictions affect the harvesting and planting of produce, its transportation as well as its sale at local and regional markets. Furthermore, on-site organic certification is particularly difficult during this time. Nonetheless,  IFOAM EU and other organic stakeholders took part in submitting a joint letter to the European Commission in support farmers facing the pandemic to support and protect environmental standards. 
 
FoodBytes!, an initiative by Rabobank, discusses six trends facing the Food and Ag (F&A) industry. The functionality of foods, online food availability and increased local sourcing have seen a recent rise. While food hygiene and farming automation are increasingly important. Finally, as a result of changing consumer demands, a greater need for affordable packaging is being observed. 
 
 
7th May 2020
The European Fresh Produce Association performed an internal analysis of the essential European fresh fruit and vegetable sector. Finding that, COVID-19 particularly affected the workforce and logistics causing market uncertainties and high costs, Freshfel offered up a list of recommendations. With new challenges within its supply chain management, it calls for greater planning, cooperation and assistance within the sector. A brief fact sheet of the lengthy report was also released. 
 
 
6th May 2020 
Recent market intelligence indicates that the demand for organic food products has risen dramatically. Although online retailers are reporting the highest growth, physical retailers offering organic and natural items have remained open and have also profited from increased sales, in cases up to 40%. Although economic difficulties may worsen, the coronavirus health scare will continue to benefit sales. With an increased focus on health and the effects of nutrition, organic products will likely benefit over time. 
 
 
4th May 2020 
Global Shifts in Consumer Behaviour - McKinsey & Company 
As a result of COVID-19, lockdowns and economic downtown McKinsey & Company is tracking interviewees consumer behaviour, their expectations of personal impact and time spent metrics across 40 countries. In terms of food, survey respondents indicate that they intend to spend up to 15 or 30% more on groceries over the next two weeks than normal. Contrastingly, European consumers expect to marginally reduce their spending on snacks and most of all in terms of restaurants or any quick-service restaurants. 
 
Published on behalf of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, the magazine discusses how the COVID-19 crisis has brought existing problems to the forefront. Prof. Jackson, co-director of the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food, outlines the stakes, who is responsible, barriers to change and what possible solutions look like. 
 
 
30th April 2020  
The UK-based Navitas has developed a Coronavirus Control Certification,  offering free advice for businesses in the food industry on how to operate safely once they reopen. The guidance provides checks and practices to implement in order to ensure safe working environments and operations. 
 
 
29th April 2020
Stockpiling of specific products and foods was an initial trend worldwide. Following increasing travel restrictions and shutdowns, the restaurant industry suffered enormous losses while farmers were the subsequent industry to face difficulties. Meanwhile e-commerce, local supply chains and food delivery have increased since the start of the pandemic. Industry professionals say COVID-19 is accelerating these issues and changes, testing the resiliency and adaptability of the food sector. Which ones are here to stay, remains to be seen.
 
Regional Food Markets in Europe and Central Asia - Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 
The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations has released a brief on the regional food market situation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The impacts on agrifoods and their value chains and specific retail food prices are outlined. Furthermore, implemented national policy responses to limit the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on food markets in Europa and Central Asia are listed. 
 
 
28th April 2020
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched a blockchain deployment toolkit to combat shortcomings in business supply chains. The Redesigning Trust toolkit outlines how companies can construct viable business ecosystems, also providing smaller players with the opportunity who might not have access to blockchain technology. Successfully reconstructing supply chains has become particularly important for the food sector since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
 
27th April 2020
As viruses such as SARS, MERS and now COVID are thought to have originated from animals, several companies anticipate a greater demand for safer meat as Food Navigator reports or plant-based alternatives, according to The Food Institute. However, not all plant-based businesses may see the same success. Although plant-based meats have seen substantial growth in sales during recent weeks, consumers have increasingly gravitated towards comfort food, discarding diets and 'healthier' food choices. Development and innovation in the sector have suffered as many new product launches were postponed and plant-based research has stalled. Furthermore, current market uncertainties may pose growth difficulties for the sector in the future. 
 
 
24th April 2020
According to a recent survey released by the global management and consulting firm Kearney, the majority of consumers still claimed to care about the sustainability of products. Kearney's data even suggests consumer awareness regarding environmental friendly business practices has even increased during the pandemic. 
 
Responses from Cooperatives and SSE Enterprises - International Labour Organisation
A list of resources supporting workers and businesses is being compiled by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Among others, these organisations are helping supply chain stabilization, production innovation and workplace safety. 
 
 
23rd April 2020
The platform AgFunder talks to agtech investment experts. They highlight what agrifood and foodtech companies should expect in the wake of COVID-19. The video discussion focuses on business survival, the timeline to recovery and more. 
 

 
22nd April 2020 
Experts on the European FoodTech ecosystem, DigitalFoodLab has released a report on initial disruptions observed in food startups. In terms of foodservice, businesses working with restaurants have had to rethink their current customer base and means of distribution, food delivery startups need to adapt to increasing demand as people stay home while innovative products create alternatives to conventional food products. 
 
 
21st April 2020 
Food Banks and Reducing Food Waste -  Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 
The FAO has listed readings to help reduce food loss. Useful information on international food waste and food banks are provided and updated. Access the resource above to help save food in your area. 
 
 
20th April 2020
Alltech, an industry giant in animal nutrition and health; crop science; and, food and beverage, has released a discussion series on the impact of COVID-19. Their resources cover the changes taking place in agriculture, food production, consumer tastes and the opportunities that have arisen as a result. 
 
Four countries and 4,000 adults were asked their opinions on COVID-19 related topics. Seven key findings were highlighted, including the importance of business behaviour impacting customers perception, the expectation for governmental intervention and customer behaviours changing for the long-term. This suggests, businesses are seen as having a duty to contribute and help others, while consumers state they are less likely to eat out and shop in brick-and-mortar supermarkets. 
 
Organic sales have been doing well as consumers bought surplus produce in the face of pandemic uncertainty. Additionally, Ecovia intelligence suggests the demand for safer and cleaner foods also drove up sales. However, as the economic impact worsens, consumers may prioritise lower-cost items and opt for non-organic alternatives. 
 
 
19th April 2020 
Deloitte's post outlines how the circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighting weaknesses and opportunities in the food industry. Particularly in terms of food production and supply as well as the health impacts of nutrition have been brought to the forefront. Furthermore, digitisation and FoodTech have shown greater potential while the complexity of our food system has posed major challenges. The opportunity to improve collaboration between food industry players and optimise management of our food network needs to be seized. 
 
 
16th April 2020 
The UK-based meal-kit provider Gousto manages to raise an additional £33 million (€37.9 million) in funding. Although the company began seeking funding before the start of the pandemic, since COVID-19, the company has seen a 28% increase in larger orders such as family-sized meals. Gousto currently delivers around 4 million meals each month.
Food delivery services such as Hellofresh and Ocado have also seen gains in their stocks, contrary to businesses in other sectors CNBC reports. However, elsewhere food delivery services are not doing as well as expected such as in the US, although online grocery sales are profiting.  
 
A joint statement signed by thirty significant organisations of the food and drink industry in Europe was submitted to the European Commission. It called for better working conditions, including for seasonal workers, to protect against the virus and prevent its further spread. 
 
 
14th April 2020
Europe's Fruit and Vegetables - Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI)
Fresh produce sectors in Europe are struggling, although fruit and vegetables are available, their provision to customers remains problematic. Moreover, the demand for exotic produce has declined while products rich in vitamins are more in demand. CBI provides resources and a brief overview of how several European countries are coping. While frozen or processed fruit and vegetables are being stockpiled. 
 
A detailed list of Europe's food and drink industry's efforts to support communities during the current pandemic has been compiled by the industry's confederation. Europe's food heroes have been working hard to keep supplies flowing and provide much-needed help.
 
 
13th April 2020
The global milk industry has been confronted with considerable losses, while perishable goods in the catering industry and crops are going to waste. Furthermore, our significant changes in consumer demands and staffing shortages are making the supply and availability of certain foods even more difficult. 
 
 
9th April 2020
Calls to Action - The Food and Land Use Coalition 
World leaders have been called on to prevent a global food security crisis. Numerous organisations and businesses are urging governments, international organisations, businesses and civil society to maintain the supply of food, support those need and work to secure the future provision of food. 
Likewise, foodwatch is calling on the European Commision for consumer protection and food safety.   
 
Global Food Policies  - Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 
The Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA) has been set up by the FAO to allow open access to food and agriculture-related policy decisions and frameworks. This hopes to facilitate public and private sector decisions in the food industry.
 
Guidelines to Protect Workers - FoodDrinkEurope  
FoodDrinkEurope, together with the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), released general safety guidelines for the food manufacturing sector. As the provision of food and drink is essential, the document outlines the minimum standards that should be present during production.   
 
 
8th April 2020
Ensuring Food Safety - European Commission 
The EU Commission has addressed common COVID-19-related questions regarding the production, sale and use of food products. Notable is that certification guaranteeing 'virus-free' food cannot be demanded of suppliers as no evidence exists of food transmission of the virus. Further information is also given regarding safety measures and how to ensure employee health. The World Health Organisation has also published interim guidance for food businesses. 
 
While the foodservice industry is suffering under the effects of entire nations staying at home, the international food conglomerate Cargill, reported that they are working at maximum capacity to meet current demands in snacks. Understandably, foods which are easily consumed at home have seen surges in demand. 
 
EU Agri-Food - FoodIngredientsFirst  
The crop and animal production in the EU is battling against the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly the fruits, vegetables, dairy, beef, veal, sheep and goat meat sectors are struggling as demand has decreased dramatically. Appeals have been made to the European Commission for support. 
 
 
7th April 2020
Five insiders from different sectors within the food and beverage industry reveal what measures their companies are taking, how they are being affected by the virus and what lessons have been drawn for the future; the supply chain of their products and their origin are given renewed focus. 
 
 
6th April 2020
The World Food Program (WFP) has released a report detailing its analysis on the economic and food security-related repercussions of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Despite sufficient supply and "minimal" disruptions, however, a loss of confidence in the flow of goods may cause prices to spike. As is often the case, the world's poorest would be most affected. 
 
Despite the recent rushes to empty the supermarket shelves around the world, the food industry is trying to manage the food surplus. While food produced for the foodservice industry is wasting away, individuals relaying in non-profit organisations for food have even more access. Such grants help the redistribution of food to where it is most needed and calls for greater cooperation in the food industry.  
 
 
3rd April 2020
As the food industry across the world has been impacted, Food+Tech Connect, a platform for food innovators, initiated a list of resources to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. As contributions are welcome the list of global and regional resources is growing daily. 
 
Despite travel restrictions and isolation measures around the country, Germany borders are to be reopened in order to allow seasonal workers with the spring harvest. Farmers and retailers across the country had warned that the failure to do so, would result in shortages of fresh produce. 
 
 
2nd April 2020
Drop in the Demand of Major Commodities due to COVID-19 - Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 
According to the FAO Food Price Index, international prices for common food commodities fell in March. The declining demand is attributed to the worsening economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FAO's Senior Economist Abdolreza Abbassian states. 
 
To support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic companies in the food industry are sending the sizable donations to where its currently needed most, to support healthcare systems worldwide and healthcare workers on the front lines. 
 
 
1st April 2020
FAO Outlines Measures to Ensure Global Food Supplies - Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 
FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero Cullen highlighted the interconnectivity of the global food system and offered up measures towards mitigating shocks to agriculture and food systems. 
 
 
31st March 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread, Europe's suppliers of fresh food, such as Kenya and South-Africa are bracing for the impact. As a result, not only continental challenges facing the labour and logistic sectors will continue to impact the food supply chain, but also the problems affecting our trade partners will continue to grow. 
 
 
30th March 2020
COVID-19 is also driving innovation! Sifted, a platform for Europe's innovators and entrepreneurs has compiled a list of startups, food-related and more.
 
 
27th March 2020
Natural & Organic Products Europe Cancelled for 2020 - Natural Products News 
The event organisers were informed that the exhibition venue, ExCel London, is instead being repurposed into a temporary hospital for the National Health Service. As a result, the next Natural & Organic Products Europe is planned for 18th - 19th April 2021. 
 
 
25th March 2020
The European Commission's Support of the Agri-Food Sector - European Commission 
The commitments to the EU's agri-food sector including the amount of state aid available to farmers as well as food processing and marketing companies. Furthermore "Green Lanes" were created to ensure the fast border crossing of goods including agri-food products. 
 
 
19th March 2020
Joint Commitment to Food Access Despite Country Border Delays - FoodDrinkEurope
Europe’s food supply chain is working hard to ensure access to affordable and quality food and drink as "delays and disruption at country borders have been observed for the delivery of certain agricultural and manufactured products, as well as packaging materials." FoodDrinkEurope communicated in a statement end of last week.
 
 
18th March 2020
Governmental Assurances of Continuous Food Supply - FoodNavigator 
Whether as a consumer or a business in the food industry, the state of our food and ingredient supplies are currently at the forefront of our minds. The message from governments so far has been clear. Despite difficult circumstances, all is being done to ensure supply chains are maintained to provide food and necessities. However, people's consumption should still be considerate as drastic demand shifts are a challenge to adapt to. Furthermore, current restrictions may see labour shortages for some food products and as a result, close cooperation and communication with governments is needed so that solutions can be found.
 
 
17th March 2020
Foodcircle's Own Overview of COVID-19's Impact  - foodcircle   
How is coronavirus affecting the food industry?  Foodcircle's own article provides an overview of the observed widespread impacts on our supply chains, trade fairs, supermarkets and more! 
 
 
9th March 2020
Food Is Not a Source or Transmitter of COVID-19 - European Food Safety Authority 
Although the initial infection in Wuhan, China, most likely came from an animal, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) currently does not believe food to transmit the virus. As past respiratory diseases have not been observed to carry the disease, experts currently believe this also to be true of the coronavirus. 

 

3rd March 2020
Tradeshows - expocheck
As many of you are perhaps already aware, many tradeshows are being cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus. Regular updates regarding many trade shows can be found here at expodatabase.de. Worldwide organic trade shows are listed on Bio Eco Actual.

 

Imagery courtesy of pixabay.com 

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