Like you I am trying to wrap my head around what has transpired in the last week because of COVID-19. I am writing this on Sunday afternoon – Day #8 of our family’s self-quarantine. Why? Because my husband and daughter were in NYC when things got crazy. When they returned home, I had to make a choice: quarantine with them or move somewhere else for 14 days. I chose the former. Right or wrong, we are in this together!
Unlike many of you I have not been to a grocery store (or anywhere else for that matter) for more than a week; however, I have seen the photos of empty meat cases (except for the plant-based sections… that says something doesn’t it? A future blog perhaps?) It’s a stark depiction of our current reality.
At Midan we have closed our physical offices but are fortunate that we have the technology and infrastructure to allow our entire team to work from home. We are being diligent about checking in on team members, many of whom are isolated with their spouses/partners and children. Some parents are even taking on the role of teacher for their kids. It is chaotic but spirits are high and the “we can do this” attitude is strong.
Knowing our team is hanging in there, we started having conversations with our clients. Some added shifts, trying to run at full capacity while dealing with plant team members who are out due to illness or their children’s schools being shut down. More chaos, but also more “we can do this” attitudes.
And what about our consumer? While there may have been a lot of early denial that then turned into toilet paper panic, that tide turned as the number of infected Americans has grown to more than 33,000 (per the CDC, updated 3.23.20) and nine states told everyone to stay at home. These numbers are climbing daily.
Two interesting observations:
1) Now is the time to expand our consumer’s culinary confidence.
When measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 started ramping up, the meat cases were wiped out. That means consumers were buying anything and everything. Given that the 2020 Power of Meat study cited that 83% of consumers purchase only a handful of cuts/kinds of meat and poultry, primarily due to their lack in confidence of meat prep skills (particularly younger shoppers), this is an opportunity to help them out.
Here is a quick look at what Google searches for “How do I cook beef” looked like for the last year: