Supply chain innovation can reduce coronavirus food shortages
Food security is an essential issue brought to light by COVID-19.
The Canadian government recognized this by deeming workers across the food supply chain as an essential service. More importantly, in early May, the federal government announced $252 million in funding to farmers, food processors and food businesses to get through this pandemic.
Of the funding, $77.5 million is earmarked for food processing. This is a critical juncture: we are at a time when we need to examine food processing technology pre-COVID-19 and deploy it to make us more food secure and ready to withstand the next big challenge.Relying on old approaches
With COVID-19, we’ve fallen back to 19th-century food technology to make us feel safe — stocking our pantries with canned foods and shelf-stable dried foods, including grains and pulses.
When considering a post-COVID-19 food system, we must focus on building resilience using modern innovation. Cutting costs should not be the only factor that informs our supply chains.
Most Canadians have lifestyles that demand the convenience of processed foods while valuing nutrition. The carbon footprint of food preservation done at the industrial scale is low: life-cycle analyses of foods show that the carbon footprint of home cooking is 2.5 times that required to process the food.