Covid-19’s effect on the Australian food supply chain was not something that was foreseen or thought about when the pandemic first hit. When it came to enacting measures in which the population went into lockdowns and quarantines to stop the spread of the virus, a cycle was formed. Companies along the supply chain were forced to adapt or chance shutting down risking a potential food shortage.

The effects of COVID-19 were felt even at the very beginning of the food supply chain. The governments in each state implemented their virus containment strategies which began the shift and disruption to food suppliers on a national level. The population were shuffled through lockdowns and quarantine resulting in many businesses mandated to shut down.

The concern around supply shortages were amplified with panic buying behaviours as many basic supplies and consumables were pillaged from shelves with uncertainty of when they could be restocked. Restocks were delayed as the transport systems were slowed and there were concern in regard to food shortages in the most affected areas. As the labour force was severely reduced, from fields to factories, stock was being left abandoned and over time became unusable.

During the pandemic, ISG Fresh managed to maintain their workforce and quotas nationally, even in the most affected states along the east coast. ISG Fresh, as a company built to conduct in majority of the supply chain, developed strategies to remain operational during the pandemic. Being a multi-industry facility in Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, manufacture, supply, and transport of food products was able to continue even at the height of the pandemic. This created a lifeline into heavily impacted communities and some of the other harder hit places in Australia as schools, hospitals and other facilities were at risk of supply shock.

ISG Fresh, as a multi-industry company, overcame the challenges COVID-19 by adapting quickly within different state government restrictions and regulation on a daily and location basis. Communication was and still is key regarding operating in different states and pandemic conditions. On the announcement of the pandemic and immediately following nationally mandated procedures, ISG Fresh provided staff with thorough training and equipment ensuring every valued staff member remained employed at full capacity as well as taking all the necessary steps to increase resources to meet the rising demand of the food supply chain and high-stake clients and markets.

With hopes of an end to the pandemic in the not too distant future, ISG Fresh continue to innovate, pivot and deploy response strategies throughout the food supply chain industry to assist businesses and communities to return to working capacity and break the cycle caused by COVID 19.

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