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How the Pandemic Affected the Food Industry, and Ways to Bounce Back in 2021


It’s been over a year since the pandemic appeared and its effects are still being seen in every sector and industry worldwide. Lockdowns, movement control orders, and other initiatives to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus has severely impacted businesses, especially those dealing with food. Facility shutdowns, supply and production delays and disruptions in logistics have affected each stage of the food supply chain, from farm to table.

What’s more, consumer habits and attitudes have changed dramatically towards food consumption and safety. Facing a two-pronged battle, the food industry is tackling a never before seen challenge to keep meeting their production goals and customer demands. 

How the pandemic has affected the food industry


Delays and Disruptions in Production and Distribution

With multiple lockdowns, strict social distancing and safety SOPs, the business operations of businesses has undoubtedly been affected. This has caused a myriad of problems. First, with the implementation of social distancing, the workforce is essentially reduced from full capacity to potentially less than 30% of the workforce. 

Hence, a shortage in manpower which has resulted in production loss. Furthermore, strict district/border crossing regulations have caused transportation costs to rise, as well as increase holding times in warehouses, ports and docks. Not only do companies have to bear further costs, but the longer their products are held, the higher the risk of a pest infestation. 

With the lower production and loss of goods due to pests, food retailers will in turn be affected, finding difficulty in obtaining goods, especially fresh produce to meet their customer demands.

Changing Consumer Habits

Supermarket Fresh Fruits

Consumers have also been severely impacted by the pandemic, and certain behaviours have been noted to increase during these times. The trend of home cooking/baking has seen a rise, as restaurants were closed or only open for takeaway and options were limited to those nearby. Hence, the demand for fresh produce increased as more people were actively spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals. 

Not only that but consumers were paying more attention to food production, origins as well as food safety as a whole, and gravitated towards trusted brands while avoiding brands who came into the limelight due to unsanitary food production practices.

How businesses have coped

Food Processing

Different businesses faced different issues, hence many solutions and initiatives were taken to help businesses stay afloat while still meeting customer demands. Some diversified and expanded product listings, while others looked at alternative sourcing of raw materials. 

However, the key change that occurred was many businesses reevaluated their operations and many reinvested their resources into remote technology and machinery to reduce the reliance on manpower. Companies looked into the adoption of new digital technologies, balanced workforce as well as improved on efficiency. 

How Rentokil can help


Rentokil has not only been a leading pest control operator in Malaysia for over 50 years, they have been proud diamond sponsors of the Global Food Safety Initiative. Food safety is one of their expertise and they have years of experience in helping customers improve their food safety practices. 

As the food industry faces even larger threats of pest risks during these times, businesses require more in depth analysis and unique solutions to address their challenges. With the advent of digital pest control, businesses can now enjoy remote monitoring, traceable and transparent data, easy to view reports for audit compliance and lightning quick responses. 

PestConnect, Rentokil’s digital pest control solution, is capable of providing 24/7 remote monitoring for your premises, provides access to historical data and pest trends to customers via myRentokil, easily shows all actions taken to prevent and address infestations for better transparency as well as customisable and downloadable reports to help ease audits. 

PestConnect utilises an ecosystem of devices, connected through the internet that alerts of any rodent activity and alerts our technicians to take action. Through this, Rentokil can help you reduce business disruptions, enable proactive strategies to prevent infestations and in the long run save costs. With PestConnect, you’ll have data at your fingertips, enjoy fast responses and the ability to track your performance in one easy dashboard, through myRentokil. 

While there is an end in sight for the pandemic, businesses should not assume things will return to what it once was. Consumer behaviours have irreversibly changed, and business operations will need to adapt to prevent this from happening again. Digital innovations is a key factor in staying ahead of your competitors, and digital pest control can help you push ahead in food safety and pest management. Find out more about our PestConnect system, call 1300 881 911.