We are facing uncertain times and the Federation, the Government, Business sector and the Health Service are all working together to minimise the impact and spread of Covid-19.
The Federation has a wide range of members, which means the impact of the crisis varies greatly between different groups of members. Our retail members and suppliers into the retail market are struggling to cope with unprecedented demand. This is bringing some major challenges in terms of the supply chain being swamped, with consumers ensuring they have sufficient food for an extended period.
Frozen Food has seen a significant increase as consumers recognise the option to have supplies of freshly frozen food with an extended life.
On the other hand, many of our members into the Out of Home market have seen their market disappear before their eyes. With Government advice on Friday 20 March that Pubs, Clubs, Restaurants, Gyms etc close this situation will worsen.
We have already set up the Frozen Food platform to link manufacturers that supply the Out of Home market with retailers. This is to see if there is any opportunity to bring the spare capacity that now exists within the manufacturing channel with the increased demand in retail. Whilst we accept there are some challenges here, we felt that by connecting these two different member groups that some mutual support could be established.
The Federation will seek other similar opportunities in the coming days and weeks.
The Federation will aim to support members across their businesses by acting as a link between Government and members. We would actively ask members to ensure we are aware of the issues they face, which as I have already said will vary depending upon which channel you operate in. This will ensure we can raise these issues with our contacts within Defra.
We will try to ensure guidance and advice is regularly updated on our website and communicated through social media in addition to direct communication to members.
The Federation is also actively working with other trade bodies to ensure that we do not duplicate effort but support one another effectively in these challenging times.