Though there is a glimmer of hope now that states are beginning to reopen, the global economic body blows that the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered continue.
A mid-April University of Michigan survey of consumers said this about what is ahead:
Regardless of official announcements made by state or federal agencies, individual consumers will form their own judgments about the risks of the COVID-19 virus to themselves, their families, friends, and their communities. There will be no national consensus, nor a uniform restart of the economy. Consumers’ judgments will be based on science, experience, and emotion. Moreover, the fears generated by the coronavirus will not completely disappear anytime soon. Residual fears of exposure to some virus may still limit people’s willingness to be in crowds at sport stadiums, theaters, airplanes, cruises, large shopping malls, or even shake hands at the workplace or social events. While most of these changes in behaviors will not be permanent, they will certainly persist over the next few years. Moreover, many spending preferences and shopping habits may have been permanently changed by consumers’ recent experiences. Although recessions are notorious for reshaping economies, this downturn will entail many more changes in the makeup of the business sector as well as the working, spending, and shopping habits of consumers. The pandemic will end with a vaccine, but the scares from the economic devastation will remain part of family lore long into the decades ahead as did the wounds of the Great Depression.
TK: How will we change because of COVID-19? Saving and scrimping like our grandparents did after the Great Depression or taking a cruise by next winter? You know the answer to that already.
Of course, growers have not been spared, and in nearly all cases lack the ability to quickly turn off production in response to changing demand compared with a widget factory.
The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service reports that the Dutch potato sector is going through trauma with the extreme contraction of frozen potato demand at foodservice demand. Growers in Denmark were faced with an excess of 1.5 million metric tons.
A USDA report from Finland talks about the pandemic impact on agriculture there, accompanied by worries about seasonal ag workers.
Drudge Report food headlines today: