The current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in many ways over the past several weeks. From social distancing and self-isolation to school closings and work-from-home edicts, everyone and every business and industry has seemingly been affected — including the process industries.
In order to examine COVID-19's effect on the process industries, Processing recently reached out to its social media audience and subscribers with the goal of gathering responses from those involved in the process industries who were willing to share answers to questions such as:
- How has COVID-19 affected your company and its operations?
- What precautions has your company taken as a result of COVID-19?
- How has COVID-19 affected your job?
In our latest COVID-19 Conversation, we corresponded with Southern Recipe Small Batch vice president of sales and marketing Mark Singleton. Southern Recipe Small Batch, a division of Southern Recipe, is a small batch, handcrafted brand of pork rinds.
How has COVID-19 affected your operation?
Over the last few weeks, we’ve experienced the unprecedented natural disaster in all places within our operation, like sales increase. This is not just at our company, but also across selective consumer categories. Historically, these are regional situations where we see an increase in sales for emergency foods and consumer goods (canned goods and shelf-stable foods), but the current crisis has been significantly more impactful due to it hitting all 50 states.
What changes has your company made as a result of COVID-19?
This challenge is national in scope, so we can’t just shift production from unaffected areas. We're seeing all food categories being impacted to some degree, and it has put a great deal of strain on the national food distribution system. As a result, we're doing all we can to support our retail customers in the midst of this. We all have to be in close communication with our customers, ensuring we understand the demand of the times.
As food manufacturers, the only way we can truly help America is by staying focused on keeping people safe, keeping our food safe and keeping that food moving to store shelves. Food manufacturers also need to understand that this is not a sprint, it is a marathon. We have a responsibility to do our part by continuing to feed our consumers. It's that simple.
What precautions has your company taken as a result of COVID-19?
We care about the health and safety of our team, consumers and customers, just as we have for more than 60 years. With that care and concern in mind, we’ve taken additional steps to continue protecting everyone who trusts our pork rinds with their family's snacking needs.
We have an extensive Pandemic Preparedness Emergency Plan that has been put into action, including not only an action plan for today, but also for the next 30, 60 and 90 days. We want to ensure retail shelves are full, and we’ll do everything in our control to make sure we can deliver.
Additionally, we’re closely monitoring our supply chain for potential disruptions and are developing contingency plans should the long-term effects of COVID-19 impact suppliers’ inventory levels or the ability to ship product. To date, our ability to deliver at capacity has not been impacted, and we currently do not have any concerns about that changing.
We’ve also employed heightened disinfectant practices within our plants and our offices, in addition to the exceptional food safety practices we’re proud to have enforced to date. This includes tightened plant security with a strict restriction on visitors.
How has your job been affected as a result of COVID-19?
Our work, overall, has been affected as a result of COVID-19. We take the mission we’ve been called to in this current state of America very seriously. These are:
- Making product that keeps consumers happy and fed.
- Staying on retailer shelves, so consumers know they can count on us.
At the plant level, we’ve worked hard to make sure our food remains safe, our employees remain healthy, our processes remain efficient and steadfast and, all through this, that morale remains high. We’re working harder than ever to let America know we’re still here for them. We’re working harder than ever to deliver the comfort food consumers crave and the snacks they and their families love.