International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Institute for Nutrition Research / School of Business and Law / School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Science
Edith Cowan University
This study aimed to explore how food supply chains were impacted by COVID-19 and identify how the region could be better prepared for future crises. An online survey was completed by 107 consumers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 27 food supply stakeholders working in food production, distribution, retail, hospitality, institutions (i.e., childcare), logistics/freight and local government. Pre-COVID-19, farmer-direct distribution options and hospitality businesses comprised a substantial proportion of local food producer businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers favoured local food supply options, farmers collaborated, and produce usually destined for export was redirected into local markets. Critical food supply actions included keeping borders open to food freight, enhancing social capital through real-time business communication, and business flexibility. Solutions included business adaptation, for example, farmers selling produce boxes and hospitality businesses selling excess stock, COVID-safe delivery, and collaboration through digital networks. To better prepare the region for future crises, actions to support communities could include a community approach to agriculture, increasing food supply diversity, facilitating transport to aid food distribution and purchasing, and more effective messaging to discourage panic buying. Actions to support retailers could include increasing access to wholesalers through online platforms. Actions to support producers could include improving infrastructure, such as more regional distribution facilities.
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Exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and other interventions for optimal health across the lifespan