The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in unforeseen rapid fluctuations in demand for many key products including milk and dairy products. The near complete shutdown of the restaurant industry and changing grocery shopping patterns, in particular, have had significant impacts on the demand for key dairy products.
Across Canada, dairy farmers and dairy processors are continuing to work with our partners throughout the supply chain to do everything they can to feed the nation as we all cope with unprecedented circumstances and challenges. In addition, dairy farmers and processors are donating significant volumes of dairy products to food banks in order to support Canadians in need.
The dramatic changes in demand and the related challenges being felt throughout the supply chain have resulted in the need for the disposal of some raw milk, which is extremely unfortunate and difficult. A cow produces a certain amount of milk per day and farmers must continue to milk them to keep them comfortable and well. At the same time we need to ensure production is maintained, as consumers shift their purchases of dairy products to retail stores in greater numbers during the pandemic. The entire supply chain is working diligently to react to these sudden shocks and to adjust to changes in demand for dairy and other foods.
The last thing anyone wants to see is milk being discarded, least of all farmers and their partners in the value chain. Every day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, farmers and processors are dedicated to supplying the market with the milk that is needed to feed Canadians.
Finally, we salute the hard-working men and women throughout the supply chain, from the farm to the processing plants, to retail stores and restaurants and food service outlets, all working very hard in unprecedented circumstances and we thank the many public health officials, organizations, front-line healthcare workers, emergency personnel and all those who, tirelessly, provide care and work to contain the spread of this virus.