What Challenges Might the Food Shipping Industry Face During 2022?
A number of difficult and new challenges faced the food shipping industry in 2020 and 2021. Despite these challenges, it was able to overcome them through creative problem solving and leveraging available technology.
What new challenges might the food shipping industry face in 2022?
Pandemic Continues to Impact the Food Shipping Industry
The pandemic continues to affect farms and production facilities worldwide. As long as there is always the threat of a viral outbreak within a company, strict restrictions and shutdowns loom overhead. These challenges set shippers back for a significant amount of time in an age when timely shipping is more relevant than ever.
Moreover, the cost of securing delivery trucks continues to rise. The pandemic has caused some food shipping companies to pay more than three times as much as they did before for making their shipments on time.
A combination of rising shipping rates, a shortage of workers, and shutdowns are still having a significant impact on the produce shipping industry.
Focus on Healthier Alternatives
These days, people are paying much more attention to the nutritional value of the food they consume. Approximately 60% of shoppers read the ingredients label on foods before buying them, according to a 2021 survey.
However, supplying every store across the country with all of the options consumers want is quite the logistical hurdle.
For example, almonds only grow in very specific climates, such as parts of California (an astounding 80% of almonds come from California). Thus, restricted foods such as almonds must be shipped across the globe on a regular basis from one location to another.
The food shipping industry will become more and more taxed as the demand for superfoods and health foods increases.
Growth of Vegetarian and Vegan Consumers
Many consumers are switching away from meat in favor of more plant-based alternatives due to ethical, environmental, and health concerns. A survey conducted in 2021 identified over 9.6 million Americans as vegans.
Despite this, those who follow a plant-based diet often miss the rich, full flavor found in meat-centric dishes. In response, various meat substitute companies have emerged, including Beyond Meat and Impossible Food.
The production of these foods (meat substitutes) can be tricky, and many of them require very specific handling and shipping requirements.
Balancing Reduced Waste with Safe Food Handling
When it comes to food safety and environmental considerations, we’ve encountered something of a paradox in recent years. Here’s what’s happening:
- Consumers prefer food that has been handled safely, with little chance of contamination or spoilage.
- Moreover, customers prefer to buy from companies that practice sustainable and environmental practices.
- This often necessitates the use of plastic wraps and other materials that have difficulty breaking down in the environment.
- This plastic material is used to address food safety issues but leaves companies with more waste and a greater environmental impact.
Managing both sustainability demands from consumers and food safety requirements is clearly challenging.
However, a new packaging revolution may be able to resolve this problem. In collaboration with Harvard University, public health researchers have developed environmentally friendly food packaging that will biodegrade after use.
We can hopefully solve the issue described above through inventions like this one.
As we move towards 2022, the produce industry faces some especially difficult challenges. However, with some foresight, planning, and ingenuity, most shippers will be able to weather the storm.