Demand for fresh, local food products is soaring as BC consumers stock up and hunker down to wait out the pandemic.
Groups representing several commodities report strong sales, with livestock growers being particular beneficiaries.
“The population needs to eat, and grocery store shelves are being cleaned out at an unprecedented rate,” says the BC Livestock Coop, which has been deemed an essential service and continues to operate during the pandemic.
“BC Livestock Coop, and the ranchers/farmers it serves are a key cog in the wheel in helping to supply food to our country and all of North America,” it explains. “Meat plants and grocery stores cannot keep up with the demand for beef right now.”
Retail chicken sales are also up.
“Chicken is selling out quickly in stores,” reports Cheryl Davie, manager of strategic initiatives and analysis with the BC Chicken Marketing Board. “With restaurants closing and with many families cancelling their vacation plans, British Columbians are eating at home more and buying more food at retail grocery stores.”
She said poultry processors are shifting chicken from restaurant and food service channels to retail channels to meet the shift in demand.
Last week, the BC Milk Marketing Board noted a “significant increase” for fresh dairy products, which it attributes to more people eating meals at home and not shopping in the US. It added two incentive days this month and three days in both April and May to meet demand.
Online ordering has also surged, with some platforms slowing down or unable to handle the volume. Retailers have also added staff to handle the jump in online orders as people avoid stores.