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Food supply ‘largely unaffected so far’ by coronavirus

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Virus consequence: food supply has not seen a huge impact due to Covid-19 at present
Virus consequence: food supply has not seen a huge impact due to Covid-19 at present

Related tags: Pub food

Food supply in the foodservice and hospitality sector has not been hugely impacted so far as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Prestige Purchasing said this was down to the hard work of the supply community in managing the largely unexpected falls in demand that happened late February and early March.

Due to closures in the sector, there has been drops in orders on foodservice suppliers and Prestige predicted financial difficulties as the crisis continues.

Expected issues

The degree to which this occurs is currently unclear but the longer it carries on, the higher the likelihood and severity.

Following the Chancellor’s announcement of support measures yesterday (17 March), Prestige said while these would create some easing of the financial burden being felt by businesses, the nature of the measures (being mostly debt-based), they may not be as impactful as they seem.

It also expected there to be some challenges with the importation of produce (especially fresh) coming into the UK as the pandemic unfolds, as border authorities try to cope with the temporary movement restrictions that have been put in place.

Too early

Prestige Purchasing also outlined how it was too early to predict an outcome on food prices from the coronavirus outbreak with any reasonable degree of accuracy due to the level of infection and its geography is unpredictable.

However, if there are issues with food price, it is likely to be generated by production challenges, transport restrictions, trade imbalance, commodity markets and/or abnormal demand.

It added there is limited evidence of all five at present and one example given was Norway, which is China’s salmon export partner, has already seen spot pricing plummet following the coronavirus outbreak, with surplus supply in the market to bring pricing down.

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