By Keith Warriner
In December 2019, I heard that China was going to lock-down a major city and build a hospital from scratch within a few weeks due to an unknown virus sweeping the Wuhan region. The commentary at that time was “it couldn’t happen here” and that it was an over-reaction. How wrong could one be, as a domino effect closed one country after the next. I recall being at conference in Florida in the first week of March and by the time I returned to Canada, the country was starting to lockdown – it almost felt like that scene from the Wizard of Oz – we are not in Kansas anymore.
Like everyone else, the food industry was caught short-footed with a near collapse of the supply chain. This was partly due to suppliers and borders closing along with food service outlets. However, the unprecedented panic buying by consumers in the first few weeks of the lockdown put great strain on the supply chain. Retailers shortened hours and introduced control measures on the fly. Gone were reusable bags and back in were single-use plastics, despite making little sense with regards to controlling the virus.