Here is why F&B companies want to be termed as ‘essential service’

This is aimed at avoiding any kind of food shortage that would lead to panic.
  • Divya Pathak Senior Content Writer

Amidst the 21 day lockdown imposed by the government due to the Coronavirus scare, Britannia, Parle, PepsiCo, Dabur, Hindustan Unilever, Coca-Cola, ITC, Nestle, Mondelez and Perfetti Van Melle have written to the government through the FICCI asking for immediate exemption from movement restrictions. This is aimed at avoiding any kind of food shortage that would lead to panic. Further, they also want that the sector to be termed as an “essential service.” In one of the letters, the company said, “Central and state authorities are issuing different advisories and notifications on a daily basis, local administrations are enforcing shutdowns of factories and creating ambiguity at the ground level and leading to unnecessary enforcement.”

“To maintain regular supplies, it is necessary that this sector is not put under any work and movement restrictions. Along with the food and beverage sector, food ingredients companies should also be allowed to operate smoothly,” the letter said. It said many companies are facing challenges from local administrations who are asking them to shut down operations.

Impact of the lockdown on the food shortage - 

The restrictions would not just have a food shortage in the country but it would also have a direct impact on farmers and their produce. The companies in the letter elaborated on ways they have undertaken safety measures, they were restricting entry of visitors to all plants, monitoring hygiene conditions at warehouses and distributors, undertaking extensive sanitisation in factory premises and cutting down on shifts. The foods market is estimated to be worth about `2.3 lakh crore, or roughly 55% of the country’s FMCG industry. Following the lockdown across the country in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, only essential services are being allowed to operate, bringing the economy to a grinding halt.

The plead in the letter that F&B is to be placed under “essential” is a huge move to keep the food and beverage supply ongoing in the country during this pandemic outbreak.