COVID-19 having significant impact on America’s food industry
The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on America’s food industry.
“We never had to face anything like this before in the agricultural sector,” says Bill Bamka, the county agricultural agent at Rutgers University.
Bamka says that the pandemic impact on the industry is tremendous. He says that the issues are routed in the food process.
“We have plenty of food. What we’re seeing more is a supply chain disruption. And it happened very drastically,” he says.
Bamka says that packaging for restaurants or schools is different than packaging for grocery stores, which are now flooded with demand.
“You’re seeing milk being dumped. You know, we go buy milk for an institution or a school, it’s in those little cartons. You go to the grocery store, it’s in a gallon and you have to retool the packaging line. You have to change how you package things, which doesn’t happen overnight,” he says.
Bamka says that this can create a program when trying to get food to customers. He says that another concern is healthy works, which can impact the meat industry.
Photos: COVID-19 Impacts the World
“We’re starting to see people getting sick or having corona. They’re shutting down plants, so we need those processors to keep the system moving,” Bamka says.
Bamka says overbuying can leave shelves bare at times but adds New Jersey may be in a better situation than some other states.
"We have direct marketing with farm stands. We market a lot to the grocery chains directly. We don't rely on the food industry or the processing industry as much,” he says, adding the New Jersey residents should not be concerned.
"At this point, I wouldn't worry. I think we have plenty of food that's going to be available, especially in New Jersey,” he says.
Bamka says that the food industry just needs some time to adapt.