Thursday, January 20, 2022

Omicron supply issues affect big food chains, farmers say plenty nobody to pick up produce

First it was the supermarkets, now Australia’s favourite fast-food chains are feeling the bite of Omicron.
Supply chain issues around the country have seen shoppers face empty shelves, with workers in transportation, distribution, and stores, forced to isolate.
New rules in some jurisdictions will allow more back to work, but there are still plenty of kinks in the chain.
And now, KFC has confirmed it’s feeling them too, with some items going off the menu for now.
“Unfortunately our supply chain has been disrupted, and some of our restaurants will be offering a reduced menu,” a spokesperson said.
“We’re sorry for any issues this causes our customers – we’re doing everything we can to help our suppliers get back on track.”
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci outlined the impact the spread of Omicron had made across the supply chain.
“Unlike the surge buying of early 2020 (who could forget the toilet paper), this is because of the number of people in our supply chain in isolation – from suppliers to truck drivers and distribution centre team members – which in turn is causing material delays to store deliveries,” Mr Banducci said.
Farmers say plenty food around, just not getting to consumers
As shoppers continue to face empty shelves in supermarkets around the country, farmers have confirmed there’s plenty of fresh food around – it’s just getting it to customers that’s the problem.
“Our growers are sending plenty of produce down to the Sydney Markets, and we’re working on making sure farm businesses can continue to harvest these crops,” NSW Farmers Association president James Jackson said.
“Sadly, we’ve seen some companies and individuals use the scarcity of tests and images of empty shelves as an opportunity to lift their prices, so we would ask the ACCC to keep a close eye on retailers to make sure they don’t bump up prices above any movements in the farm gate price of fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Jackson also joined the chorus of voices calling for greater availability of rapid antigen tests, saying a lack of them was contributing to the broader supply chain issues, as well as affecting farm production.
He said the tests would allow farmers to keep sick workers at home and healthy workers in the field.
“We’ve seen some positive announcements, but the fact remains that the fresh food we enjoy is grown on Australian farms, and if our farmers can’t get it out of their fields it won’t make it to supermarket shelves,” Mr Jackson said.

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