Apr 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stresses on food supply chains are causing empty supermarket shelves

Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

While industry giants reassure shoppers there is enough food during the coronavirus pandemic, people continue to be met with empty supermarket shelves due to stresses on established supply chains, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: With restaurants closed, distributors are struggling to retool their product from bulk supply for restaurants and industrial-scale operations to smaller, consumer-focused packaging as Americans cook from home.

  • Food facilities are also having to combat coronavirus outbreaks of their own. JBA SA, the world's top meat company, had to close a beef facility in Colorado, and Smithfield Foods did the same at a pork processing plant in South Dakota.

The big picture: The supply chain demands aren't limited to food. The Post notes that hair dye is an increasingly popular product this week as people miss scheduled salon appointments.

The bottom line: "The stress on the production system is everywhere. We can’t hire more people to build up our lines. We have certain limitations, and all of the infrastructure is under stress, from the fisherman to the clerk putting cans on the shelf," Sean Wittenberg, the president of Safe Catch, which specializes in packaged fish, told the Post.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

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Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests in Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparked clashes with police on Friday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.

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Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.