Food shipments decline over 10% in the last month due to supply disruptions and plant shutdowns
We saw it first in consumer packaged goods. When governments began instituting shelter-in-place orders, the news of toilet paper shortages and frantic runs on hand sanitizer and soap spread far and wide. As we rode out those early weeks of quarantine, our own data confirmed the increase in shipment volume for the CPG industry, which felt the brunt of the supply chain strain more than others.
But moving out of early March, CPG load volume declined back to its pre-COVID averages. As the pandemic wears on, FourKites platform data illustrate that supply chain impacts are moving upstream, now showing more signs of wear on the food supply chain than in CPG. That’s no real surprise; in recent weeks, hundreds of workers at food processing companies have fallen ill to COVID-19, causing widespread supply chain disruptions. To assess the impact of these supply disruptions in the US, we looked at aggregate load volume across the major food suppliers in the country, across four sectors: meat, dairy, alcohol and pet food. The latest snapshot of what’s happening on the ground provides a more nuanced view of the food supply chain as a whole.
Here’s what we found: In aggregate, our data points to a 10-15% drop in shipped loads over the past month across meat, dairy, alcohol and pet food. And while that is certainly a significant drop, it’s not quite as precipitous as we expected.
Stop Volume by Day Since 1/1/2020
Load Cancellations Since 1/1/2020
The data confirm the impact of the current health crisis on the national food supply, including meat and poultry, with meat processing load volumes declining even below their typical volume from a couple of months ago.
The meat distribution story remains incredibly fluid, especially in light of this week’s White House declaration. If food producers bring workers in, we may see distributors and retailers increasing demand on carriers to keep up with escalating load volume. It will inevitably be a local decision based on a multitude of factors, and we will keep close watch on how this story unfolds.
|4/13 vs. 3/16||4/13 vs. 2/17|
Personal Care & CPG Load Volume Since 1/1/2020
We will continue to keep a close eye on these food trends, along with other areas of the supply chain impacted by coronavirus. FourKites analyzes data from millions of loads and real-time machine learning to help shippers and carriers optimize their assets and inventory movements. Check out our dedicated COVID-19 site for the latest.