Picture: Sif Meincke. Copyright: Dansk Industri
Leif Nielsen, Director at Danish Food and Drink Federation
The current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has already left a mark on the Danish food industry. Danish Food and Drink Federation sees changes in the demands from the general public, which has turned everything upside down.
Restaurants under pressure from a closed society
According to Leif Nielsen, Director at Danish Food and Drink Federation and Board Member of Danish Food Cluster, the Danes’ changed shopping habits during the corona lock-down has had a visible impact, especially on one part of the industry:
“We are seeing a remarkable change in the restaurant business. All the food we as consumers used to eat and socialise around at the restaurants is decreasingly produced and sold”, said Leif Nielsen.
But it is not only the restaurants themselves that suffer from the crisis. The whole value chain connected to the restaurants and cafés is affected by the lock-down of the country.
“The majority of the Danes do not buy the more expensive cuts of meat and fish which are normally primarily sold B2B to restaurants. This means that the suppliers of for instance these types of cuts are also very affected by the closed restaurants”, said Leif Nielsen.
Traditional cold lunch dishes win
“As an increased number of people are working from home these days, we are not eating the warm lunch dishes that we used to get served in the canteens of our workplaces. There is instead now an increased demand for rye bread and leverpostej in the Danish homes”, Leif Nielsen explained and continued:
“Retail shops are increasing their sales, especially on their web shops and on to-go and delivery services. But unfortunately, take-away and delivery services do not make it up for the restaurants and cafés”.
Leif Nielsen further pointed out that even though the Danes order more take-away food than before, it does not compare to the sales they would have had if they could open up as usual.
A strong industry that will survive
All industries are currently affected by the present condition of both Denmark and the rest of the world. Tourism is practically non-excising and many companies suffer from mandatory closings. But according to Leif Nielsen, it seems that the food industry generally may not be hit as hard by the Covid-19 pandemic:
“The food industry is not very cyclical as food is something that we all need and thereby there will always be a demand. We see a change in which foods are demanded, but looking at the industry in general, we are not as affected as some other industries unfortunately are”, Leif Nielsen explained.
Despite a downswing in the restaurant business, Leif Nielsen is also positive that there is hope for the restaurants and cafés on the other side of the crisis:
“When the country opens up again, we will most likely see that the general public will slowly start seeking the socialisation that comes with going out and enjoying a meal on a restaurant, but it will be a gradual process”.
Aid packages and healthy employees
Many new initiatives have been implemented in order to try and secure the industry – both during and after the crisis. Aid packages provided by the Danish government is a big help for some companies, but there is also initiatives and measures that the individual business can do itself.
“We see a lot of food companies and restaurants doing their best to secure their employees and making sure they have the necessary sanitary measures that can help them avoid contamination. That is a fundamental step in the right direction towards an opening of the country”, Leif Nielsen explained.
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