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The Effects of COVID-19 on Food

By Omar Rizk

Contributing Author


“Knowledge is power.” This age-old quote coined by Sir Francis Bacon is as straightforward as it is old. In our day and age where ignorance of something as simple as keeping a mask on could lead to death, unemployment, and shortages of food for all, knowledge truly does equate to power.


Just as we had been able to loosen the restrictions on the economy, we’ve also made

significant strides towards normalcy in the realm of food. However, in the early stages of the

coronavirus, a perfect storm occurred that caused food shortages across the country.

The food industry is no exception to the restrictions put in place by the government to keep

those contaminated by the virus to a bare minimum. Restaurants everywhere were forced to

close down due to the severity of the restrictions.


Surveys suggest that approximately 1 in 10 restaurants were permanently shut down due to the pandemic during April 2020. Due to panic, many households resorted to hoarding food,

which inevitably ended up going bad.


The effects of such have been most detrimental for food-insecure households whose family

members may have been affected by the unemployment scourge that swept the country. In the summer 2020 a study found that food insecurity rose by 32% in the US and Canada during the first months following the outbreak.


Fortunately, food banks and food-sourcing organizations such as Rising Sun Food Drive Foundation have been able to provide healthy meals for such afflicted households. Surveys suggest that the demand for charitable food services will increase by 68%, from 7.1% to 12.0%, during March and May of 2020.


Shocks in supply and demand, which are still occurring, cause the prices of products such as

meat and dairy to escalate. There are predictions that meat could rise to six percent, which

means a $20 cut would become $21.20. Seafood could rise to four percent, which means a

portion of fish that sells for $20 could become $20.80.


These price increases may not seem to be significant increases to the average individual.

However, we must not discount those who are in poverty, as it is already difficult to obtain food.


The coronavirus has brought upon a set of circumstances wherein even the most fundamental needs, such as food, have become significantly more difficult to obtain. In response, we must do our best to contribute to our community’s well-being, especially those who’ve been affected the most.


Thankfully, our efforts to combat COVID-19 have led to easing many restrictions on the

economy and labour market. However, over a year ago, the shutdown of non-essential services in Canada to control the spread of COVID-19 had led to a loss of nearly two million jobs (Media Experts Archives et al., 2021). Quite a few sources predict that such devastation could sweep Canadians once more.


Although these past years has been nothing short of a nightmare, the pandemic has at least

brought to our attention the importance of maintaining the integrity of the food chain and making sure it never reaches a breaking point.


Bibliography


Saba, R. (2020, March 31). Food prices were set to rise amid the coronavirus crisis.

Toronto.com. https://www.toronto.com/news-story/9920466-food-prices-set-to-rise-amid-

coronavirus-crisis/

Niles, M., Belarmino, E., Bertmann, F., & Rogomentich, K. (2021, August 6). The Food Bank and Food Pantries Help Food Insecure Participants Maintain Fruit and Vegetable Intake During COVID-19 [Review of The Food Bank and Food Pantries Help Food Insecure Participants Maintain Fruit and Vegetable Intake During COVID-19]. Frontiers in Nutrition.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.673158/full

COVID-19 Is Causing Food Shortages. Here’s How to Manage. (n.d.). Healthline.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-and-food-shortages

Wilson, C. (2020, April 2). One in 10 restaurants around the country have permanently

closed due to COVID-19, new survey suggests. CP24. https://www.cp24.com/news/one-

in-10-restaurants-around-the-country-have-permanently-closed-due-to-covid-19-new-

survey-suggests-1.4879103

Governments Must Act Now to Strengthen Canada’s Food Supply Chain: Chamber

Report. (2021, April 12). OCC. https://occ.ca/mediareleases/governments-must-act-

now-to-strengthen-canadas-food-supply-chain-chamber-report/


Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the contributing author. Rising Sun Food Drive Foundation makes every effort to provide space for young people to advocate and voice their thoughts, research, opinions and ideas that are inspired by our mission but may not reflect on the organization's services and operations.

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