Covid Impact On UK Food Supply Chains To Be Tracked

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on food supply chains in the UK is due to be tracked to assess how the pandemic has affected the journey from farm to plate.

9, a:1:{i:0;s:8:”defaults”;}, belt scrapers, Covid Impact On UK Food Supply Chains To Be Tracked, The impact of the coronavirus crisis on food supply chains in the UK is due to be tracked to assess how the pandemic has affected the journey from farm to plate., The impact of the coronavirus crisis on food supply chains in the UK is due to be tracked to assess how the pandemic has affected the journey from farm to plate, and how the impact of cafes and restaurants closing has meant suppliers have had to adapt.

Carried out by the University of Exeter, the study will investigate the disruption for producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, with the aim being to help those across the food supply chain as they quickly restructure, while informing government policymaking.

It’s also hoped that the research will highlight the changes required to make the food supply chain more efficient, and fair for different producers, whether that’s through regulation, investment or incentives.

The crisis could also have long-term implications for specialist or fixed supply chains, such as the production of milk for coffee shops. Companies in these parts of the supply chain haven’t been supported by growing food sales in shops at the moment.

Professor Michael Winter, part of the research team, explained that efficient supply chains are essential to ensure consumers can buy the food they need and it’s essential that the country’s food supplies are both resilient and secure in the coming months.

“To achieve resilience we need to know how the supply chain is adapting, and critically, what steps might be required to ensure food continues to reach shops and that there is fairness for food workers and consumers. We will hear from those in the middle of making these crucial decisions, not just retailers,” he said.

The study has been awarded £180,000 by the Economic and Social Research Council, with researchers working alongside a panel of experts taken from the five food main sectors – fruit and vegetables, flour, fish, dairy and meat.

This comes as Sue Pritchard, chief executive of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, observed that fault lines in the food system have been exposed by the pandemic

She explained that big gaps have been seen in food availability, particularly for poor and vulnerable people, with producers having to bear “significant economic impacts”.

Experts are now calling for a recovery plan for the country’s food system to make the supply chain fairer, more sustainable and more diverse. Fragility has now been exposed in the system, with over a million litres of milk poured away by farmers, millers unable to sell flour even though none could be found on shop shelves and potato farmers forced to hoard stock.

The Tenant Farmers Association said supermarkets were handed the monopoly by the government in response to the pandemic but little had been done to change buying patterns and source produce from farmers with no markets to sell at.

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