Flexibility in Food Distribution
The COVID-19 pandemic has lead many of us being more flexible out of a means of necessity. The farming and ranching industry has been pivoting in many ways as many restaurants and tourist destinations have slowed down. Many operations are now selling either direct to retailers or often direct to consumers. With the shift from restaurants to retail, labeling and packaging needs had to be addressed, and rather quickly too.
Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach, discusses some of the flexibilities developed due to shifts of food distribution from foodservice and restaurants to retail - a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We had to address some flexibility in packaging and labeling in meat, vegetables, and eggs to allow those to flow from food services to retail. That was very important because, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and those initial closures, we remember we saw the shelves at grocery stores become pretty barren in some cases. So those flexibilities allowed the product to flow to where it was in demand and that was very important."
Several months after the pandemic started, one Florida farmer resorted to selling his produce direct to consumers. Lines of cars several miles long, would visit the squash and cucumber farmer to buy farm fresh vegetables at a very low cost. A win/win for all involved. Just another example of the innovation and quick thinking of farmers.