The coronavirus pandemic requires us to understand food’s murky supply chains
Six months ago, you may not have thought much about where your groceries were produced. But chances are you’re thinking about it now. The COVID-19 crisis has put food supply chains under incredible stress, and stories on shortages of everything from meat to baking ingredients have been plentiful. But even with the increased recent attention, most supply chains remain murky. Consumers can play a key role in lifting that cloud.
A man casts a fishing net onto a flooded land following rain to catch fish on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in June 2020. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Despite progress, calls for consumer action on dangerous working conditions in supply chains for a range of products continue.
The COVID-19 crisis highlights the prospect of greater consumer engagement in the food supply chain. Browsing the shelves at your grocery store, you may come across a bewildering array of claims related to a product’s characteristics or origins.
There are, for example, nearly 150 different eco-labels on food that certify claims about a product’s environmental and social characteristics. Seafood, beef, coffee and bananas are just some of the many products covered by eco-labels.