As all of us around the US and the rest of the world get used to a new normal in society and social interactions, we are seeing the effects of covid-19 on global supply chains in various industries that are now struggling to keep up with demand as the respiratory virus closes food plants in industries such as meat processors.
Tyson foods pork processing plants have recently reported significant closures and slowdowns throughout the country due to workers health concerns and the spread of the covid-19 virus. Production has fallen significantly while demand for protein has increased in the first three months of the year. Plant closures or “slowdowns” have been widespread throughout the food processing industry due to the nature of the plant designs and the close working conditions of the plant employees, but plant proteins such as pecans could be a silver lining in these trying times.
The global pecan supply chain, while slightly affected by the novel coronavirus, has managed to not only keep running, but has managed to increase output safely during these unprecedented and trying times of social distancing. The major advantage of the pecan supply chain is the built in social distancing of the journey from farm to table.
Social distancing is a way of life here on the farm. When we need a part to fix irrigation, or repair a tractor then we will head into town to pick up the needed part, other than that, social distancing is basically what we as pecan farmers do every day. The next step in our supply chain is the cleaning and shelling plant. Due to the natural “best design” practices of cleaning and shelling pecans we have no need for employees to work in close proximity to one another and with recent advances in optical sorting technology, we have high tech cameras allowing us to increase our output with less human interaction, further increasing our workers safety and the quality of our pecans.
Consumption of plant based proteins is on the rise and pecans are helping to fill the demand of consumers’ need for protein around the globe. As consumers become more conscious of workers conditions, and the safety of their food, pecans are stepping into the spotlight as a healthy, safe, and employee conscious alternative to meat based proteins.