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This content is taken from the EIT Food, Queen's University Belfast & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Understanding Food Supply Chains in a Time of Crisis. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsHi there. My name is Andy Zynga, and I am the CEO of EIT Food. I thank you for joining us in week two of this course, where we are exploring how our food supply chains cope during times of crisis. Last week, we explored some key issues around identifying the different stakeholders in our agri food supply chains from the primary producers, distributors, and retailers who produce, deliver, and stock our food, to the regulatory bodies and inspectors, who ensure the food we buy is safe to eat.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsWe also delved into a range of challenges our agri food supply chains are facing, including how to feed a growing population with limited resources, how to manage and reduce malnutrition, and how to adapt to the effects climate change has on growing and producing our food. Despite these challenges, we have seen that our agri food systems are actually robust and display resiliency, even in the most difficult of times. But just how far can we push this system? Even when our agri food supply chains are not in crisis, they are confronted with mounting pressures.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsThis includes the issues surrounding food integrity and food fraud, such as whether consumers-- we can trust that the ingredients on our food labels are a true reflection of what is in our food, or even whether our food has been produced in a safe and clean environment in the first place. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates some of these pressures. For example, mandatory health and safety visits and hygiene inspections cannot be carried out in their usual way due to limits on face-to-face contact. Also, with the closure of some international borders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, our food may take longer to reach our supermarket shelves.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsDuring trying times, some try to manipulate the system-- for example, selling fraudulent products when stock on demanded items is low. However, while some opportunists may act of fraudulent ways during a time of crisis, there are many others who pull together and collaborate on solutions. There are a variety of measures put in place to combat food fraud, which you will discover this week during this course. At EIT Food, we're helping to bring about systemic change to increase the resiliency of our food system. Our community of industry partners, research centres, and universities, as well as agri food startups, are working hard on innovative solutions to some of the system's biggest challenges.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsThis includes everything from helping farmers to adopt new sustainable technologies that will benefit their businesses, to creating sustainable and healthy alternative proteins, all the way to reducing food waste. It is through these innovative solutions that we contribute to improving the resiliency of our agri food systems. As a consumer, you can help our food system remain resilient. During week 2 of this course, you will explore the negative impact consumers can have on agri food supply chains and the solutions that can counteract those. For example, stockpiling and panic buying during times of crisis can lead to food shortages for others and a rise in the price of goods. So only buying what we need can overcome this.

Skip to 3 minutes and 48 secondsI wish you all a good week. And as with all our EIT Food courses, please do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you so much. Enjoy the course.

Welcome to week 2!

In this video, Dr. Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food introduces the second week of the course.

One of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic is that many of us are confined to home. That includes children, parents, students, professionals, pensioners and many more. With our movement being severely restricted, concerns have been growing amongst consumers about the ability of the agri-food supply chain to ensure all of us get food on our plates.

This week we will take a closer look at the impact a ‘crisis situation’ can have on our food chain, how the agri-food chain copes with these crisis situations and the role the consumer can play to minimise disruption. We will also explore how universities and companies can make a difference with innovative services and solutions and collaborate to produce action plans to ensure food integrity.

A better understanding of the agri-food supply chains and the contingency plans put in place by its stakeholders will help to empower you as a consumer to become an agent for change in your community and counter the fear, distrust and scepticism that currently exists.

We hope you enjoy!

Before you begin

Please share your observations of the recent Covid-19 pandemic on food supply in your region in the comments section below.

Please note that due to Covid-19, all our video contributors had to self-record themselves using a laptop or smartphone. As a result, the audio quality is not optimal. We apologise for the inconvenience. Should you want to better understand the video content, we have provided the English audio transcript in the downloads section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Food Supply Chains in a Time of Crisis

EIT Food