Will Omicron be a problem for the Food Industry?

Unfortunately, it’s not if but when, with some food sectors already dealing with the effects.

The variant of the COVID virus, Omicron, is almost guaranteed to cause disruptions of the current food supply chain with some companies already feeling the sting.

It’s a real problem

Increased infections are affecting everything from farm to table, keeping services/production below pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s entirely reasonable for all of us to project that the next month or so could remain strained within the supply chain as Omicron runs its course”, Sean Connolly, Conagra – WSJ

For some reason the meat production sector seems to have been affected more severely than most. As a matter of fact we could already be seeing the first signs of a possible slowdown:

  • Hog slaughter the week of Jan. 3-7 was down 5.5% from the same week last year*
  • Cattle slaughter down 3.6%*

* USDA Livestock Slaughter Report

In addition, USDA inspectors are calling in sick more than usual. Combined, employee shortages will affect the entire food supply chain. Not a good thing

“The Delta variant didn’t have a whole lot of impact on the workforce, but Omicron is nailing us.” – Paula Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspections Locals – Bloomberg

This is not happening in the future, this is something that is taking place now. The surge in Omicron will most likely make it harder for food companies to fill orders immediately.

“The entire food-at-home supply chain is being impaired by deeper labor shortages than anticipated — this much seems clear to us — and it’s only a question of how bad the impact is,” Ken Goldman, JP Morgan analyst – WSJ

The highly contagious Omicron virus variant is disrupting an already stressed food supply chain, sickening so many workers that more shortages at the consumer end are all but certain.

Keep the faith

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I believe so. The food production industry, as a whole, is pretty resilient and has overcome a variety of challenges over the years. I have no doubt this will be the same.

Omicron’s Spread Means More Food Outages at U.S. Grocery Stores
U.S. meat production slows as Omicron hits staff, inspectors

Should Food Processors Get Priority for the Covid-19 Vaccine?
Covid-19 Vaccine

While everyone agrees that doctors, nurses and other health care workers should be first; the real question is who should Read more

Training During a Pandemic and Surge in Demand

Food and beverage processors are now dealing with some critical challenges when it comes to training. Companies are having to Read more

Coolearth Software


Have a Cup On Us!

Book a quick 15 minute phone chat to discover how Coolearth Software can help with your plant management solutions!
Solutions working in unison for all phases of your quality assurance, ingredient tracking, inventory control, labeling, processing, packaging, warehousing, and distribution operations.

*Qualified opportunities only. Up to $10 Starbucks.




Mobile Warehouse Management App 


Powerful Mobile Design!

A Warehouse Management System literally in the palm of your hand. Easy to use interface with the factory employee in mind. Hardware agnostic!

Don’t let the simple, easy-to-use interface fool you! 20+ years experienced power is behind every icon and scan touch.

Integration with centralized data is a no-brainer. From Spreadsheets to full on ERP Systems, you will have your company WMS data at your fingertips real-time.