COVID-19 at Retail: Stories from the Frontlines

From Store Brands, March 19:

The Store Brands editorial team has reached out to industry leaders on the challenges they are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. Both retailers and private brand product manufacturers are keeping employees safe and the supply chain moving.

Allen Benz, chief executive, Snack Innovations, Piscataway, New Jersey. “We are busy at work; running our three shifts per day, 24 hours a day as usual, and in fact actually turning on more production lines than normally. We’ve put in place precautionary measures as directed by the CDC and are enforcing strict hygiene protocols as well as monitoring the health of all our employees. I believe demand for food in general is higher than usual as a result of COVID-19, due to what appears to be widespread consumer panic and are buying all essential products on store shelves.”

Snack Innovations manufactures a wide range of better-for-you products for private label: sweet, savory, baked or fried snacks in processed grains or whole grains.

Andrew Whelan, a spokesperson for Albertsons, Boise, Idaho. “First of all, we are deeply grateful to our store associates for their tireless dedication during this critical time. I appreciate you highlighting them. They are working long hours under difficult circumstances to make sure their neighbors have the food, medicine, and essential goods they need. We couldn’t be more proud of our entire team.” Whelan said stores are open and ready to serve, but with quantity limits in place and a reduction in variety to focus on the essentials. “We’re refilling high-demand products as quickly as we can through our robust and sophisticated supply chain. Many of our stores receive a delivery of products every day. ... There is no shortage of food in the supply chain. Suppliers have plenty of the essential food, medicines and goods that all our communities need.”

Erik Juch, vice president of sales, Fine Foods International, New York. “Our business is firing on all cylinders. Our production lines are still open and working overtime to fill all orders from our customers. … We have been implementing additional hygiene measurements in all parts of our facilities. Once the daily routine has settled in – your refrigerator can only hold so many frozen pizzas – we suspect that the buying will go back to normal. It is very difficult for all suppliers to cope with the short-term additional orders but we are trying our best to satisfy all of our customers.”

Store Brands is a Path to Purchase IQ sister brand at EnsembleIQ. For the complete story, visit Store Brands’ website.