Food Manufacturing and COVID-19: A Survival Guide

Food manufacturing and COVID-19: What we’ve learned from other companies who’ve begun to turn the corner during the outbreak.

Let’s be honest, there no official rule-book on how to survive an outbreak we’ve never experienced before. When it comes to food manufacturing and COVID-19, the only option we have is to gather the best ideas from those who have walked in our shoes only a few short weeks ago and have finally begun to see a glimmer of hope for turning the corner. In countries outside of the United States, namely China, food manufacturers and other businesses that have found solutions are beginning to share their knowledge, and we’re here for it. If you are within the CPG industry and have found yourself affected by COVID-19, we hope you’ll find a few nuggets of wisdom here in the examples of what the following companies have done to successfully cope with the outbreak.

Re-Frame and Re-Focus

The object of one company’s response to the outbreak was to both reframe efforts and remain flexible, which allowed them a quicker recovery than the rest.

Master Kong, an instant-noodle manufacturer thought ahead, anticipating consumers to crisis-buy, hoarding whatever they can. As they watched the smoke rising, they began to shift efforts away from large retail chains and focus on online-to-offline options as well as e-commerce. Meanwhile they continuously gathered data on the re-opening efforts of the physical grocery stores, preparing for a re-entry point. They prepared for re-openings and as a result, were able to supply 3x’s more than other competitor companies during the re-opening period, allowing them to recover over 50% within a matter of weeks.

Temporarily Reinvent Your Sales Model

Many chinese companies found it advantageous to rethink the way they approached sales. For example, because of the restriction on brick-and-mortar stores, certain companies put more efforts into their online/ecommerce sales. Direct sales via online channels such as amazon and other ecommerce retailers can begin to fill the revenue gaps left by physical establishments. Leveraging online tools like WeChat and other channels to give you direct consumer communication opportunity can grant you access beyond the grocery store shelf-space. A great example of this is Lin Qingxuan, who grew sales 200% in Wuhan by doing just that, in the cosmetics space.

Prepare for Recovery

Though food manufacturing and COVID-19 have been tied together in what seems to be an unending rollercoaster ride of uncertainty, this virus outbreak has shown to be dissipating as quickly as it came on. So while in the midst of riding this viral loop-de-loop, prepare for it to end quicker than you expect. Only 6 weeks after the first outbreak in China, significant recovery has already been noted. Congestion delays are up over 60%, which shows positive signs that people are moving and goods are being consumed. Real Estate and coal consumption are up significantly as well.

The common vein between all of the companies who were able to remain successful and recover, regardless of industry, was that they were able to gather data and refocus efforts. There’s an old saying that goes something like “what doesn’t bend, breaks”, and that seems to certainly ring true for those who saw success during this trying time.

We are in support of our manufacturers, both big and small, here at LabelCalc. We wish you and your business staying-power and flexibility during COVID-19 and, we hope, for years after. 

What is LabelCalc?

LabelCalcⓇ is one of FoodCalc LLC’s two nutrition analysis products, created to help meet the needs of the food industry. Based in San Francisco, CA, we are a nationally recognized provider of online nutrition analysis that is fast, accurate, and FDA-compliant.

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