Top 5 UK Food Supply Chain Threats and How to Prepare

The food supply chain is complex and poses a number of risks. Disruptions or threats can cut off your supply and damage your business. Make sure your business is prepared for the potential risks with this top 5 threats list from the UK Food Institute. The impact of new technologies, climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, political instability and cyberattacks are just some of the risks that could impact businesses in any sector at any time. Preparing for them beforehand will help mitigate their effects on your company and its ability to continue operating as usual in case of an emergency. Here is a list of the top 5 threats to UK food supply chains you need to know about now and how to prepare for them if they happen.

Food supply chain disruption due to a lack of labour

Businesses in the food industry rely heavily on seasonal labour, which is expected to increase as the UK’s population gets older. The shortage of labour has become increasingly acute over the past few years, with the total number of EU migrants in low-skilled jobs in the UK falling by more than half since the referendum. This has led to the rising cost of food in the UK because the supply chain is more fragile and less efficient. To prepare for this threat, you can invest in automation technology and consider hiring employees from other countries with similar cultures to your own to reduce language barriers and increase communication efficiency. You can also consider setting up a training programme for staff to increase efficiency in handling of goods and maintenance of facilities.

Food supply chain disruption due to climate change

The changing climate will affect food production and the availability of raw materials in the food industry. For example, rising temperatures, drought, and flooding can disrupt the production of crops such as cocoa, coffee, and tea. The UK imports 70% of its food, so even a small disruption at the production level can have widespread effects. To prepare for this threat, you can invest in sustainable practices and look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also diversify your supply chain and explore alternative sources of raw materials.

Pandemic infection among humans and animals in the food chain

A pandemic can shut down production in the food industry and lead to shortages in the supply chain. It can also cause increased food safety risk and public health concerns due to the lack of proper handling and storage. To prepare for this threat, you can build a pandemic preparedness plan, work closely with public health officials and government agencies, and follow recommended food safety procedures to minimize the risk of contamination and contamination. You can also consider investing in a dedicated food safety management system, including a control system for monitoring and controlling hazards throughout the supply chain from farm to fork.

Natural disaster affecting food supply chains

Natural disasters can disrupt the transportation system and disrupt the flow of goods through the supply chain. This can cause shortages in the food chain and lead to increased food safety risks. To prepare for this threat, you can invest in infrastructure, diversify your supply chain to reduce the risk associated with a single location, and maintain a disaster preparedness plan to respond quickly and efficiently to any emergency situation.

Cybersecurity threats in the food supply chain

Cyberattacks and data breaches can lead to the contamination of food products, the disruption of the production process, and the release of harmful data from a company’s servers. To prepare for this threat, you can invest in cybersecurity measures and ensure that your IT infrastructure can withstand a cyberattack. You can also have a crisis management plan in place to respond quickly and efficiently to any cybersecurity incident and mitigate its effects on your business.

Bottom line

The food supply chain is particular at risk due to current events – namely the energy crisis, high inflation, war in eastern Europe, droughts and global trade challenges.

Business can use their resources to ensure they are better prepared to face these challenges, whilst householders can also take action early to ensure they are less exposed to these risks – such as growing more of their own food or holding larger at home.