By Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI
If you’ve been paying even the slightest attention to the news lately, you’ve likely seen dozens of stories about the challenges the supply chain is facing and how they will impact your plans for the holiday season – whether that’s getting the food products for your favorite holiday meals or buying gifts for your family and friends. It’s quite incredible actually that a typically behind-the-scenes topic like logistics has captured national public attention in such a profound way.
Beyond whether they’ll be able to buy the latest and greatest gaming system for their child, of concern to most Americans is whether they will be able to find the foods they need this fall and winter as many gather to celebrate the holidays with their families. The good news is the food supply chain is both resilient and robust to meet the needs of all Americans this December and beyond.
In fact, yesterday during a White House roundtable on the supply chain, CEOs from FMI member companies Food Lion, Kroger, and Walmart all told President Biden exactly that. For example, Food Lion President Meg Ham reiterated the strength of the supply chain to deliver the food products American families need to make their holiday celebrations successful and emphasized the collaboration between food retailers and their suppliers to ensure goods were on the shelves. Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, highlighted the efforts in recent weeks of industry and the federal government to work together to ease congestion at West Coast ports that has enabled the retailer to move products more efficiently inland to their stores. Overall, the message from food retailers was clear – while much work remains to alleviate the bottlenecks in the supply chain, our industry is doing everything it can to keep food and product on the shelves.
FMI has also been working to educate and communicate through the media that there is plenty of food in the system and there’s no need to panic buy or stockpile food. FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin recently sat down with Good Morning America to discuss some of the supply chain challenges the industry is facing as well as strategies for consumers to get the most out of their grocery spending. We also developed a fact sheet explaining that the supply chain is still recalibrating amid increased consumer demand and labor shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as severe weather events reducing crops yields and negatively impacting food production facilities.
Despite these challenges, the fact that every single link in the food supply chain – from farmers to product manufacturers to logistics providers to grocers – has been able to keep food moving through the system and feed the American people is a testament to our resilience, strength and creativity. It is precisely because of these efforts that families across the country can look forward to partaking in their favorite holiday meals with the ones they love.