Driscoll’s: America’s food supply chain is more vulnerable than you think

Driscoll’s, the world’s largest supplier of fresh berries, expects record strawberry production this year,media reported. There will also be plenty of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries on the market in the coming months. This will be good news at any other time, but this year is the exception, with isolated consumers concentrating on more durable food and toilet paper and not buying perishable, short-lived fresh fruit.

Driscoll's: America's food supply chain is more vulnerable than you think

But the good news is — berries are easy to freeze.

Soren Bjorn, president of Driscoll’s Americas, said suppliers had challenged them in the early days of the new coronavirus pandemic. “We’re learning, we can do things we didn’t know we could do before, ” he toldmedia cnet. Our food supply chain is much more fragile than we think. It comes from year after year efforts to make it so efficient. When it breaks up, it doesn’t have the ability to absorb what we need. “

Because of the new crown outbreak, people no longer buy perishable foods like berries or buy only a little. With no buyer picking the job became extremely expensive, Driscoll’s and other farms had to make the decision to leave some food in the field.

But now, as consumers cautiously return to the store, Bjorn is optimistic that some people who want to enjoy spring and the coming summer will go back and buy berries.

Driscoll's: America's food supply chain is more vulnerable than you think

For Driscoll’s, a family-owned business founded in the late 19th century, the pandemic prompted them to rethink how food would be distributed to distributors. When Safeway, a California-based grocery chain, needs to close its Northern California distribution center after workers were found to be infected with the new corona virus, Bjorn and his team needed to figure out new ways to ship their berries to the chain’s stores.

Finding berry-pickers is not a problem, in fact the company has been hiring. However, they adjusted how to harvest the fruit, such as different shifts and more hand-washing sites.

“We have more people coming in, and at the moment we don’t have any difficulty in recruiting,” Bjorn said. The key is to keep them safe. “

Driscoll's: America's food supply chain is more vulnerable than you think