Covid-19: Food companies turn to online platforms amid social distancing

28 Mar 2020

Web conferencing and other online platforms have surged amid global advice to practise social distancing as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues. How are food companies making the most of online tools to reach their customers?

People are social animals, so the concept of social distancing has inspired many to look for other ways to interact, even as they avoid physical meetings. This includes finding ways to interact on a social level, but increasingly, businesses are leveraging online resources as well. For some companies, this could be as simple as adopting online conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts to conduct meetings, but others have taken web-based business to another level.

Covid-19: Food companies turn to online platforms amid social distancing
Industry is using a wide range of web tools during the Covid-19 crisis

Puratos and Bakeronline, for instance, have launched a service to help bakers set up a webshop platform for free so they can continue selling to their customers during the crisis. The online service allows customers to order online and pay digitally so bakers can better manage their orders while minimising physical contact. Shoppers can then collect orders with an order number at a given time.

Puratos has also noted the many ways in which bakeries, patisseries and chocolatiers have adapted around the world, including offering home deliveries and drive-through services, offering online baking courses, and minimising their usual product range.

Online ordering platforms for food and agricultural ingredients were already on the rise before the current crisis, but uptake has accelerated and diversified. In France, with local markets closed, producers have united to set up an online platform so consumers can choose a basket of locally produced foods for home delivery. Some supermarkets also have vowed to buy more local products to help ease pressure on the local economy.

The spread of the virus has led to many of the industry’s biggest events to be cancelled, likely resulting in many missed partnership and business opportunities. However, such cancellations are leading some marketers to re-evaluate how they deliver digital content, and to offer more personalised approaches. Sweets & Snacks Expo, for example, was due to take place in Chicago in May. Announcing its cancellation, the event organisers said they intended to enhance their distance learning schedule to bring more value to exhibitors and attendees.

Artificial intelligence platforms that explore connections in food and agricultural systems are also likely to come into their own during the crisis. UK-based Agrimetrics, for instance, aims to ensure better understanding of the relationships in global food networks, in order to avoid potentially catastrophic chains of events – such as those that could come about as supply chains are disrupted.
The food industry is considered an essential industry all over the world, meaning that finding alternative ways of doing business is a necessity – for governments and consumers, as well as for companies themselves. As the ongoing crisis unfolds, the innovative solutions that suppliers and manufacturers develop to manage their supply chains are likely to influence how the industry does business well into the future.

Related tags

Blogs Market News

Related news

UK pledges to protect food standards during trade talks but public concern remains high

UK pledges to protect food standards during trade talks but public concern remains high

6 Aug 2020

British public concerns over lowering food safety standards continue to court US trade remain steadfast as the UK and US governments gear up for the next round of scheduled negotiations later this month.

Read more 
Pressure on baby milk manufacturers intensifies over mineral oil traces

Pressure on baby milk manufacturers intensifies over mineral oil traces

3 Aug 2020

Consumer watchdog Foodwatch is calling for EU member states and the European Commission to publish the results of official tests on the presence of potentially harmful aromatic mineral oil in baby milk and infant formula.

Read more 
Flexitarians in China are revitalising the mock meat tradition

Flexitarians in China are revitalising the mock meat tradition

27 Jul 2020

Many Asian countries, China in particular, have traditions of mock meat but the region is developing a new, innovation-fuelled plant-based sector to meet the demands of urban flexitarians, say experts.

Read more 
PepsiCo Egypt CEO feels bullish about regional growth: ‘The opportunities are huge’

PepsiCo Egypt CEO feels bullish about regional growth: ‘The opportunities are huge’

20 Jul 2020

PepsiCo recently announced a US$100m capital investments in Egypt, and its confidence in the country’s growth potential is unshaken even by coronavirus, says the CEO of PepsiCo Egypt.

Read more 
Sugar Association files citizen petition calling for clearer labelling of sweeteners

Sugar Association files citizen petition calling for clearer labelling of sweeteners

13 Jul 2020

The Sugar Association has filed a US citizen petition to require manufacturers to add front-of-pack disclosures regarding the use of non-nutritive sweeteners – but sweetener suppliers say ingredient lists already give consumers clear information.

Read more 
Natural, native and healthy: Latin America’s rising star superfoods

Natural, native and healthy: Latin America’s rising star superfoods

3 Jul 2020

From açaí to quinoa, chia to maqui, native Latin American superfoods give products a healthy, wholefood halo– and the region has plenty of undiscovered superfoods waiting to be commercialized, says one expert.

Read more 
Scientists develop next-generation DNA barcoding for food traceability

Scientists develop next-generation DNA barcoding for food traceability

29 Jun 2020

Encapsulating fragile DNA barcodes into custom-made microbial spores creates a cheap and scalable tool for farm-to-fork traceability, say the Harvard scientists behind the research.

Read more 
Nutrition labels and healthy reformulation in Latin America

Nutrition labels and healthy reformulation in Latin America

26 Jun 2020

Mexico’s front-of-pack warning nutrition label has entered into force. Will healthy reformulation follow?

Read more 
The importance of local flavours in NPD for the Asian market

The importance of local flavours in NPD for the Asian market

22 Jun 2020

From Osmanthus flower soda in China to spiced chewing gum in India, using local flavours for successful new product development (NPD) in the Asian market has never been more important.

Read more 
UK organic food sales soar despite lockdown

UK organic food sales soar despite lockdown

22 Jun 2020

Sales of organic food in the UK have reached record levels and increased during the COVID-19 lockdown – but can the sales be sustained now that the panic buying has subsided?

Read more