State Investments and Innovations in Meat Processing

The COVID-19 pandemic created disrupted
supply chains in many industries. Since 2020,
it is not uncommon to visit a grocery store and
see a lack of meat products. Though many
factors contribute to these shortages,
processing capacity in large facilities was
reduced by labor shortages. Processing
facilities are designed to have human labor
efficiently working with machinery. While
these spatial layouts allow processors to scale
up their activities, they also force workers into
close proximity in an enclosed space.
Consequently, large-scale meat processing
facilities are not conducive to social distancing
and are not easily reconfigured. In some cases,
processing facilities became hotspots for the
spread of COVID and the resulting labor
shortages reduced the output of meat from
these facilities. Combined with COVIDrelated
labor shortages all along the supply
chain – in distribution, transportation, and
retail – meat supply often did not meet
consumer demand in mainstream consumer
venues.

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