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Vivek Vaid - CTOVivek VaidChief Technology Officer, FourKites

Our latest review of FourKites’ entire ecosystem of supply chain data (millions of deliveries, tens of thousands of companies, fifteen focused industry verticals) indicates that many of the major COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions of the last few months appear to be leveling off.

Food & Beverage Shipment Volumes

In aggregate, over the past month, food and beverage (F&B) shipments have remained stable, having seen just a slight uptick of 1%. But F&B shipments are down 7% when compared to the peak of the panic-buying period this past March, suggesting a return to some semblance of normal buying patterns for many F&B products.

Overall F&B Shipment Volumes

Overall F&B Shipment Volumes

CPG Shipment Volumes

Shipments of consumer packaged goods (CPG) products, however, have not levelled off in the same way. CPG shipments were up 9% in the last month and remain at elevated levels since their initial spike in demand early March.

Overall CPG Volumes

Overall CPG volumes

Shipment Volume Trends & Insights

Looking across a range of grocery store aisles, here are some trends we’ve observed across meat, dairy, alcohol and pet food over the last couple months.

  • Load cancelations drop for meat processing companies – that is, loads that were planned two to three weeks in advance but were then canceled by the processor – have dropped 24% since their peak the week of April 20, and now reflect pre-pandemic levels. This is a big change from our update in early May, when we had observed month-over-month cancellation increases of 22%. This change could be a reflection of more meat processing plants coming back “online” since the Trump Administration’s executive order compelling them to stay open. That said, overall shipments of meat are still down 15% since March – which could reflect less demand from consumers as meat prices rise and concerns over COVID-19 infections in processing plants continue.

Meat Load Volume By Week

Meat load volume per week

  • Dairy farmers continue to face headwinds. As it has already been documented in the media, dairy farmers continue to struggle due to reduced demand from restaurants and hotels. Many companies have seen that downward pressure neutralized through increased retail sales, however – a balance that will likely shift again once food service picks back up with state reopenings. On the FourKites platform, dairy shipments have remained stable month over month since mid-April.
  • We continue to see peaks and valleys in demand for alcohol. After a decline of 4% mid-April through mid-May, alcohol shipments shot up 17% through the first week of June. This is not surprising, given that alcohol volumes commonly increase in the month leading up to major holidays, in addition to the reopening of many bars and restaurants across the country.
  • Pet food shipments declined for the second month in a row, down 7% in the last month and 3% over the month prior.
  • Personal care products, which were up slightly mid-April to mid-May, declined 5% in the last month.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The current pandemic poses a highly fluid situation, given the ongoing uncertainty around the trajectory of infections as more states and businesses reopen. We do anticipate that volumes will likely increase over the next four weeks as the end of the quarter and Fourth of July celebrations will lead to increased demand for shippers in many consumer-focused industries.

We will continue to report on those trends, and many others, on our COVID-19 Trends & Insights page.

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