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Anderson Exports: export disruptions and appreciation for the food business

April 6, 2020 8:11 AM, Der AUDITOR
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SEEHEIM/SACRAMENTO. In light of recent events regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Mundus Agri talked to Erik Anderson, CEO of Anderson Exports, discussing notable disruptions in the supply chain and the luck to be working in an essential industry – food.

Anderson expects the export and local demand for nuts and dried fruits to continue to be high for a little longer, but not on the long run. “We expect to see sales increase in the near term due to this global grocery store grab happening as a result of people prepping to stay in for the coming weeks. Inevitably this demand will lessen as consumers and markets settle in for what will be a new normal. I expect California raisin and tree nut sales to remain steady over the long term as most of the food supply distribution channels will remain operating close to normal.”

“I have seen some of my buyers putting orders on hold, others receiving FCLs business as usual, and others who have increased their orders,” Anderson says. There are undeniably some changes in consumer demand and some businesses go slower, while others profit from the current situation. “Some trends that seem to be emerging is that sales for Soft Drinks, Candies, and other sweets are down across the world as people tend to buy more raw foods or at least less processed when cooking from home,” he reckons. “Less theatres, convenience stores, airports, etc. open and more long term items like almonds, raisins, pistachios, sweetened dried cranberries, walnuts and other tree nut and dried fruit items have seen sales increase some 15-20% in Europe and similar increases in the USA due to shoppers stocking up on items to limit their time outside their homes.”

According to Anderson, people will always choose the possibility of getting sick over starving, which will eventually cause disruptions in the supply chain sooner or later. “As time goes on, we begin to understand the breadth and depth of the damage this virus may do”, Anderson states. “When deciding between starvation and coronavirus, people will choose the risk of exposure to this novel virus over going hungry. Therefore, I think there will be disruptions to supply chains as each country/origin deals with their own methods of containment.” He is frustrated with the current situation and feels that we need a global solution to fight the virus. “There is no Global Pandemic Response Council being convened of all nations to better understand where the infection is at each day in order to inform allocation of scarce resources like masks, medical parts, and other medical products. The longer the world waits to coordinate our responses together to fight this virus, the more widespread and harder to reverse the damage.”

Even in these dark times, he can acknowledge the fact that people, like himself, who are working in the food industry are very lucky. A business that will always be essential. “It is not all bad (although it is not great) – food is an essential business, ocean and air transport are essential to today's global economies. Further, certain places simply no longer produce food in the amounts that are needed to sustain themselves so the shipping will be the last to be stopped, if at all. So in that sense, operating in the food supply as a business means we may be more protected than most”, says Anderson. And while he thinks disruptions in the supply chain are temporarily, it will take time until our lives can get back to normal. “Although freight lanes may be disrupted, I see these disruptions as temporary as the world settles into what will be a new normal. There is no doubt in my mind that the world will not come out of this for some time. The primary solution is the development of a safe and affordable vaccine. And even that will take some months, at best, to cycle around the globe until there are enough global vaccinations for Herd Immunity. Until this point though, I do not foresee large scale air travel for the general or even business public becoming viable. As long as people are moving, the virus will be too.”

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