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Impact of COVID-19 food supply chain: Comparing the use of IoT in three South African supermarkets

Linda Njomane and Arnesh Telukdarie

Technology in Society, 2022, vol. 71, issue C

Abstract: This study aims to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by comparing the performance of three major supermarkets in South Africa and addressing the following questions. 1) What is the impact of a supply chain disruption on the food system? 2) What interventions (short and long-term) are taken by the food supply chain to mitigate disruption? 3) What does the post-pandemic picture look like for the food retail sector? This study adopts a comparative research approach and investigates direct strategies adopted by various food supply chain actors to mitigate the impact of covid-19. This study compares how retailers Checkers, Woolworths, and Pick n Pay have adapted their business models to remain resilient during COVID-19 lockdown. The results show that the food supply chain remained resilient even with demand management challenges at the lockdown. Food supply chain issues came under a spotlight as borders and production plants were shut down or restricted to contain the spread of the virus. This study establishes that the food shortage is primarily caused by panic buying at the beginning of lockdown, causing shock in the supply chain cadence. The other aspect of food security issue is attributed to food availability and socioeconomic problems resulting from loss of income. On sustainability, there are fears that control measures such as packaging (increased use of plastic), cleaning chemicals, waste and sanitisation of space to maintain hygiene as required for covid-19 can undermine the gains towards preserving the environment.

Keywords: COVID-19 regulations; Food supply chain resilience; IoT; On-demand shopping (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102051

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