Message from the EFFoST Board - Food science and technology during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 07, 2020

In this letter, the members of the EFFoST Board would like to remind you that your expertise and creativity are vital in creating solutions for the food sector in this difficult time. Together, as a community, we can contribute to positive change.

Dear EFFoST colleagues,

Currently, we are living in a very difficult period, with much sadness about the losses of lives and concern for vulnerable people with severe health problems, as well as the loss of jobs and many uncertainties about our future. This uncertainty holds for all of us because viruses don’t make a distinction between country, culture, wealth or poverty. We are extremely grateful to all courageous people, working day and night, such as the health care professionals risking their own lives to save lives of others and other essential service providers for their much-needed efforts to allow society to keep going.

The food sector has proven to be essential but risks collapsing if the situation continues. The food chain is affected in many different ways: the closure of borders affects agro-logistics; the very strict measures for markets and food shops; the closure of restaurants and cafes; revitalization of cooking due to home confinement; the surge of online food shopping; the comeback of stocking up, mainly of canned foods; studying and teaching at a distance often using e-learning; impacted harvesting schemes; and difficult access to seasonal workers. These changes, together with the expected economic recession, will impact food companies financially which may result in a downward spiral. The impact of the Coronavirus crisis will most probably last for a long time and maybe even structurally change society and our food system, including global chains and territorial clusters.

Consequently, we, as food scientists, are all confronted with the same question: how can we contribute to sustainable, fair, healthy and safe food systems for tomorrow? The EFFoST food science and technology community can contribute in a constructive manner to this question through our collective scientific creativity. The shared passion of our community may provide much-needed solutions such as brilliant suggestions, breakthrough innovations (technological, social, organizational), novel policy options, and new ways of working together.

As EFFoST, we would like to provide a platform where you can share your ideas that may trigger and help others. Please send them to us and we will communicate them via our website and newsletter. Additionally, we will use them as food for thought for future meetings and conference sessions.

We highly appreciate your feedback!

We wish good health, courage and strength to you, your family and friends, your communities, your countries and your networks.

With our best regards,

EFFoST Executive Board

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