UK 'to prioritise domestic supply' as coronavirus hits imports

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Amarjit Sahota, founder and president of Ecovia Intelligence, has predicted policy change
Amarjit Sahota, founder and president of Ecovia Intelligence, has predicted policy change

Related tags coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic highlights the vulnerability of global supply chains, the UK is likely to see a policy change focusing on domestic food production, according to one specialist research firm.

Ecovia Intelligence (EI), which focuses on global ethical product industries, also predicted that food manufacturers would re-examine their supply chains in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amarjit Sahota, founder and president of EI, said: “We expect to see policy change in upcoming years to ensure the UK has a strong food and farming sector and there is a stable supply of food during such crises.”

Vulnerability of supply chains​ 

EI said the recent trend had been towards globalisation, but the pandemic had highlighted the vulnerabilities of these supply chains. Winners in the current pandemic had been companies with short and transparent supply chains as they had mitigated sourcing risks, it added. 

“We expect to see more transparency as food and beverage companies look to make their supply chains less convoluted. We also expect to see more transparency and traceability in supply chains,”​ Sahota explained.  

Food security

“One key lesson at the political level is food security. Just like World War II, the current state of emergency has highlighted the need for domestic food production and supply chains.”

He added that COVID-19 had raised consumer awareness of the relationship between nutrition and health, noting that demand for organic and health foods was expected to rise, as consumers looked to boost their personal immunity.

EI pointed out that previous food and health scares had led to a spike in organic foods. For instance, the BSE crisis in 2000 led to a surge in demand for organic meat products in Europe, while the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) boosted demand for organic foods in China (and Asia) in 2004. 

In the UK the Government has already unveiled that it is to ease competition rules to help the domestic dairy industry.​ 

Northern Ireland chilled food manufacturer Mash Direct has already outlined the early steps it took to counter the impact of coronavirus on its domestic food production.​ 


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