Experts believe that companies have learned a lot from past experiences and this time have been much more careful and have taken precautions for continued operation. However, many things such as the limited time to run the over-the-counter business due to lockdown restrictions and the brain drain from manufacturing centers have certainly resulted in losses.
According to one estimate, the prevailing Covid pandemic lost approximately Rs.1,150,000 to the food industry including MSMEs and retailers as restrictions began to be imposed under the 2nd wave of Covid. However, industry insiders say that the actual analysis can only be carried out after the end of the pandemic.
Shankar Thakkar, president of the All India Edible Oil Traders / Industries Association, said the food industry has suffered greatly from the pandemic. The “effective” working hours for the retail store have just reduced to 2 hours per day, while the overall store has been reduced to about 20% of the previous working hours.
“Even in the production units, the workforce was reduced to around 40%, which had an impact on production. The lockdown has caused delays in payments for many MSME units as trade has fallen dramatically, ”he said.
The startups in the food sector are also feeling the heat.
Vipul Gambhir, General Manager of Yummiano (a startup and maker of healthy snacks), says: “The industry is definitely affected. Everything from manufacturing to logistics to retail sales is at a big standstill. E-commerce has been a great support.” During this time for both sellers and consumers. Most of the products are now available on multiple e-commerce channels, which has made things a little easier. However, consumers’ purchasing power has been compromised and they are valued and sensible despite making purchases online -Availability. As for restaurants and cafes, they have definitely gotten the brunt of the second wave. There is a huge loss of business along with the loss of job opportunities. Even we had planned to bring a number of new products to market due to the pandemic also postponed. “
Neha Malik, co-founder of Conosh, an online platform for chefs, says: “The growing pandemic has slowed a large number of business operations again, but last year’s lockdown had prepared various industries and everyone at home for the” new “normal” The 2020 lockdown initially had a significant impact on food companies, but it soon picked up speed. This year, the transition appears to be smoother as many food companies are better prepared for operations, sourcing and logistics. Experience takes precedence over information . ”
She added that the demand for home-cooked food is rising again and is boosting the home-chef industry across India. Consumers who eat in restaurants every day are gradually looking for authentic, homemade dishes that promise a healthier alternative. Although the crisis is having repercussions on food companies, the industry must remain ready to transform needs-based responses into lasting solutions and to build sustainable models to protect our society from future adversity.
In the meantime, some of the food companies were better prepared this time around.
Vijay Jain, JK Masale’s chief marketing officer, said: “From the experience of the last pandemic, we learned that a second wave was inevitable. Because of this, we have installed semi-automatic machines that require fewer staff, taking all safety measures into account. This has helped us to increase our production capacity. The transport of important / emergency goods was last permitted by the government. Again, we are ready to fight / address these if there are transport problems. And after the first wave, we found it difficult to travel to remote rural areas. That is why we have set up super retailers in local areas compared to individual locations. This helps with distribution. “