The pandemic had a huge impact on the food business around the world. In Wisconsin, initially, it was quite difficult for farmers to save their business from the ill effects of the pandemic, but later they were saved by on-demand food apps. During the pandemic, the government-imposed restrictions made it impossible to leave the house. Since restaurants were closed, farmers faced real difficulty selling their produce; it affected everyone involved badly.
Let's have a look at some of the interesting stats:
Wisconsin is home to 64,793 farms on 14.3 million acres. The average farm size here is 221 acres.
Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics
- Annually, 435,700 jobs or 11.8% of the state's employment.
- On-farm production contributes 154,000 jobs.
- Processing attributes to 282,000 jobs.
Also, Wisconsin is the third-highest producer of potatoes.
Number of eating and drinking places in Wisconsin: 12,796
There is no denying that farmers contributed to ensuring that the coronavirus crisis didn't become a hunger crisis. Farmers are excellent at adapting. Time and again, their spirits have been tested by calamities such as floods, droughts, etc., but the pandemic brought a range of challenges.
Speaking to the farmers of Wisconsin, certain issues were highlighted: -
A farmer stated that agriculture needs people- people are an important aspect of farming, and isolation orders made it really difficult to come together, which was a major challenge. The added pressure was that restaurants were closed; they were the ones who bought potatoes to make fries and other food items; it was indeed a time of trouble for farmers. After harvesting the crops, they needed to be transported, and again lockdown restrictions didn't permit that. All in all, the situation was quite gloomy for farmers. But farmers remained resilient and hoped to return to normal.
Moreover, COVID-19 created other risks such as health problems, stress, and deaths. With the travel restrictions imposed by the government, there were labor losses'; also, it was not possible to transport fresh vegetables, fruits, and milk products from one place to another on time.
How the world eats is changing drastically. People have moved from bricks to clicks, meaning they don't have to go to restaurants to order food; they can order from their smartphones. This shift was responsible for saving the farmers of Wisconsin from the pandemic. Since people were still placing orders to restaurants, it meant that restaurants had to buy produce from farmers to complete the orders. Thanks to food delivery apps, not only do restaurants survive, but farmers found a way to sell their produce.
In the US, roughly 50% of every penny spent on food goes to the foodservice industry, which includes restaurants, schools, and hospitality.
In fact, the effects of the hospitality and foodservice closing down had global impacts. Restaurants around the world suffered from the crisis. As many industries are linked to each other, it was no surprise that impact on one had effects on others. Similarly, the impact on agriculture affected the food industry.
In the pandemic, the prices of vegetables and fresh produce were severely affected as bulk buyers such as restaurants, local hotels, eating joints were closed.
Apart from that, food delivery apps offered advantages in goods and services, provided much-needed convenience to users, and provided information and business opportunities.
During the pandemic, restaurants were in dire need to impress customers and to attain user satisfaction and engagement; they built user-friendly apps as well as tech-enabled driver networks. During the complete lockdown, delivery became the lifeline of the restaurant industry, which indirectly helped the agriculture industry.
Read More : How Food Delivery Apps Are Facilitating Citizens Amid Lockdown?
It's not easy to predict what the long-term consequences of the pandemic would be. However, there is not an ounce of doubt that a resilient food system is the need of the hour, which can help in food sustainability. Proper measures must be taken so that future crises can't shatter the industry and supply chains can withstand and not crumble down.
The importance of agriculture has been highlighted by the food industry, and proper measures should be assured to deal with such a crisis. The commitment of farmers needs to be appreciated, with the shortage of resources, they managed to sail through the crisis.
In addition to that, the advancements in technology shouldn't be ignored as it's because of the rapid innovations in the technology that it was possible for the app development companies to come up with robust and scalable food delivery apps with added features such as cashless payment, social distancing, etc. By accelerating their digital efforts, software development companies came up with practical solutions in less time. Food delivery apps are one of the fastest-growing sectors of mobile applications, and the pandemic has a big role to play in it.
Farmers also agreed that it was due to food delivery apps that their crops were accepted by hotels, restaurants, etc., during the pandemic. Food delivery apps created a channel to engage customers and allowed them to order from the comfort of their homes during the pandemic. Also, to reduce the risk of any infection, the food delivery apps provided cashless payment and no contact options to customers. It was a win-win situation for everyone- farmers, restaurants, and customers. As per Statista, by 2024, the online food delivery business is expected to reach US$182.3 billion. As per IMAC 2020, the food delivery sector (during 2019-24) is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 11.4%. In fact, many farmers started using apps that allowed them to come with contact with prospective buyers through apps. It was definitely a new step for farmers as they are not used to using apps to sell their produce. Actually, it was quite fruitful for them as they got to know how smartphones and apps can make their task easier in the pandemic and they don't have to worry about finding right people for their produce. To conclude, farmers did face a tough time during the start of the pandemic, and it was difficult to manage and sell the produce, but thanks to technology, especially food delivery apps, farmers were able to sell their crops to restaurants and hotels.