While restaurants face another round of shutdowns, the COVID pandemic has, and will continue to affect the entire food chain, from growers and producers to freight and distribution. Food service distributors who have remained open during the pandemic are working hard to supply and support their customer partners. Here are some of the issues that food service distributors around the country are working tirelessly to overcome.
Sourcing food products is a significant problem for distributors. Products like pepperoni, yeast, flour, and other common pizza items have been a real challenge to source on a consistent basis. For starters, the demand cycle for these products has changed dramatically. Manufacturers have shifted significant portions of business to retail where demand is the strongest, leaving the food service segment under-serviced. In addition to a change in demand, most manufacturing facilities are struggling with adequate labor as personnel are sick or having to quarantine. This leaves facilities operating at a fraction of the normal output putting them weeks behind normal production schedules leading to significant order delays and shortages.
Freight has also seen massive changes over the previous 10 months. Freight rates are on average 20- 30% higher than they were in 2019, and there are many issues leading to the increase. Ocean shipping has seen record demand since June, which in turn is causing massing congestion at ports leading to delivery delays and extra costs. Once the product lands in the country, getting a truck under it is yet another problem as there are not enough truck drivers available with most capable drivers worried that the travel would increase their chances of contracting the virus.
In response to these procurement challenges distributors are needing to look at multiple product sources to try and get the best product matches at the best possible prices leading to inconsistency in product, and pricing on key items.
Delco Foods has been working tirelessly to ensure you have the best chances of making it through this pandemic. They are finding product, they are managing freight, they are controlling costs; they are working on your behalf to make sure the operations that they service survive. No matter what kind of operation you work for, or where you are in the supply chain, these issues affect all of us, and it will be up to all of us to work hard to get our industry back to where it was. For questions on products or service please contact your Delco Foods Sales Representative.