How COVID-19 Has Accelerated Digitalisation In The F&B Industry
Business Today Malaysia|October 2021
When Malaysia first took notice of the COVID-19 pandemic, not many businesses in the country were prepared to strap themselves for unprecedented times. The first nationwide lockdown declared in March 2020 subsequently became the first step to a challenging journey for F&B businesses.

Since then, many businesses have stayed resilient and adapted by finding new methods to stay afloat during this period, realising that digitalisation is one of the only options to sustain their business. This is also evident in the local F&B industry, with a report by Flanders Investment and Trade indicating that the pandemic has triggered Malaysian F&B retailers, such as food suppliers, supermarkets, and restaurants being seen to shift their operations and embrace digital marketplaces.

Challenges Faced by the F&B industry

When the lockdown was first declared, the F&B industry faced its own unique set of challenges. In an ecosystem where business deals were traditionally carried out physically, the food supply chain was severely disrupted due to restricted operation hours, logistical difficulties, and communication hurdles with suppliers, buyers, and end-consumers. This is also in addition to the challenge suppliers face in reaching out to retailers, and vice versa. For example, on one end of the food supply chain, several farmers in Cameron Highlands were forced to give away their farm produce due to the perishable nature of the produce, whereas, on the other hand, buyers were flocking onto online marketplaces, only to find limited options available for their choosing. This is a clear reflection that the pandemic has affected the mode of communication, even between buyers and suppliers thus impacting the source of revenue for all parties within the industry.

The Emergence of Digital Solutions for the F&B Industry

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