Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1256204

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Page 36 of 91

The pandemic has not just upended operations, but necessitated new strategies that may transform how specialty stakeholders do business. Business as Unusual: Navigating the New Normal BY ESTHER CRAIN AND MARK HAMSTRA 26 SPECIALTY FOOD SPECIALTYFOOD.COM 26 SPECIALTY FOOD SPECIALTYFOOD.COM BUSINESS CONTINUITY T he coronavirus pandemic has propelled the retail grocery industry to the front lines of the crisis, as operators battle to keep their shelves stocked and feed their communities, while simultaneously implementing new policies and procedures to protect the health of their customers and employees. The first test came when consumers began stocking up in early March, as the virus began spreading rapidly in the United States and local governments started issuing warnings to stay at home and recommended social distancing. Consumers immediately began depleting stores of shelf-stable items—canned soups and meats, pasta, rice, and frozen foods, as well as perishable staples including eggs, milk, and produce. The second and third weeks of March featured an "enormous surge of panic buying," said Anne- Marie Roerink, president of research firm 210 Analytics, in a recent webinar hosted by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, citing sales gains of more than 200 percent above normal levels for some stores, "even with some shelves being empty." "What these numbers could have been, if we had products, would have been incredible," she said. Stabilizing the Supply Chain Retailers quickly rolled out a range of strategies to replenish store shelves, including redeploying store workers to warehouses to support picking operations, hiring thousands of new workers, and securing trucks that had been idled in other industries. Patrick Posey, vice president of non-perishable procurement and merchandising at Bristol Farms, says the Carson, California-based retailer quickly began working extensively with its distribution partners to stabilize the supply chain and maintain a consistent flow of products. "At first, everybody was trying to fill up all at once, but we needed to take a step back and work together with our partners in the distributor

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