Dairy producers are using their best judgment to adjust their operations, yet it is impossible for their company leaders to say when work will return to normal or what the state of the economy will be when COVID-19 finally tapers.
Order cancellations have rocked cheese suppliers and distributors alike, filling warehouses beyond capacity and forcing companies to institute longer lead times and no-cancellation policies. Professionals from line workers to inspectors to truck drivers remain essential to the supply chain but cannot work remotely in the safety of their homes. Companies report they are protecting their workers by sanitizing diligently, banning visitors, restricting travel and ordering anyone who has come into contact with someone with the virus to quarantine.
Food service operators’ sales are dropping steeply as restaurants close their dining rooms and shift to the less profitable model of takeout, curbside pickup and delivery. Food service revenues are impacted by the closure of another major dine-in locale, the school cafeteria. Everyone knows schools and their hot lunch programs will return eventually, but they cannot say the same about all of their frequented cafes, diners, supper clubs and brew pubs. Social media users are rallying their followers to order carryout from their hometown establishments. Some people are donating money to their favorite local restaurants to help fund the salaries of laid-off staff – numerous restaurants in major U.S. cities have raised six figures over GoFundMe.
The bright spot is in retail, where dairy sales are strong as grocery stores remain open and consumers stock up their kitchens, uncertain when their next trip to the supermarket will be. People are cooking more as they stay in, and those working remotely are eating two or three meals a day at home with their families instead of one. Cheese, milk, butter and yogurt are selling quickly at stores, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Fortunately, farmers and suppliers are keeping up with the demand for the most part by working overtime and redirecting their product from restaurants to retail. The government advises consumers against panic-buying because grocery store shelves are staying replenished.
Like everyone else, IPAP’s team is navigating this unpredictable time together, adjusting practices accordingly and striving to continue providing IPAP members a quality experience. IPAP members are encouraged to monitor their emails for intermittent updates on the program. They are also welcome to ask questions or share concerns by emailing their account manager or filling out the contact form.