The uptick in demand is great, it doesn't mean there are no challenges, especially for smaller food manufacturers:
While the virus has kept most consumers in their homes, food manufacturers across the board have seen huge upticks in demand.
Big Food has been a beneficiary of consumers' pantry loading, but Kafarakis said smaller manufacturers have seen it too. The largest spikes in demand among SFA [Specialty Food Association] members have been for healthy snacks, gluten-free items, cereal, infused mineral water, beverages that promote health and wellness, and frozen food.
But while larger companies can just run more shifts and have a steady stream of workers in their factories around the clock, many SFA members don't even have their own factories. Instead, they rely on co-packers, and Kafarakis said experience with co-packers in the pandemic has been mixed. While food manufacturing is universally deemed an essential service and plants have not completely shut down, there are different rules applying to different states, meaning there may be limits that companies have little control over.