"COVID-19 and the Food Supply Chain"
**Richard Volpe will be presenting in person in Behrakis Auditorium. Livestream will be available for those who wish to attend remotely.**
The COVID-19 pandemic has had impacts on the food supply chain and the agribusiness sector without any modern precedent. Americans divide their food spending between food-at-home (FAH), or groceries, and food-away-from-home (FAFH), which is comprised primarily of quick service and full service restaurant meals. FAFH accounted for 52% of all US food spending in February 2020. Just two months later, in April 2020, the FAFH share was reduced to 34%. Based on estimates of total food sales in the U.S., approximately $23.5 billion worth of spending shifted from restaurants to food retailers in a matter of a few weeks. Many questions remain about the nature and the duration of that shift, and the related impacts, for agents throughout the food supply chain, from growers to manufacturers to retailers and everyone in between.
In this presentation, I discuss food price formation and the specific impacts the COVID-19 had on price inflation and volatility. I also discuss impacts on food shortages and stockouts in the retail sector. This research is funded by, and conducted in collaboration with, USDA with the goal of understanding how the food supply chain can be better prepared for future shocks.
Ricky Volpe earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis. He spent four years working as an economist at the USDA Economic Research Service in Washington DC. While there he researched a variety of topics, including food price formation, competitiveness in the food industry, and the healthiness of grocery purchases in the U.S. Ricky was also responsible for forecasting retail food price inflation at the national level.
Now at Cal Poly, Ricky teaches courses on food retail and supply chain management, transportation and logistics, and data analysis. He also maintains an active research agenda using a variety of large scanner data sets to study issues related to market structure, firm performance, food prices, consumers’ food choices, and health outcomes. He also works closely with industry leaders in food retailing, wholesaling, and distribution to facilitate collaboration on public-private partnerships, student internships, and scholarships. He is currently visiting the Tufts Friedman School as a visiting professor.