PARIS, FRANCE — Panic buying of pasta and flour because of the COVID-19 pandemic has the French grain industry searching for enough trucks and staff to keep factories and ports operational, Reuters reported.
The food sector has been designated as a strategic priority, helping pasta manufacturers, flour mills and grain exporters get through the first week of a lockdown in France.
But industry groups say there’s a concern logistics needed by the grain industry will become strained as the pandemic continues, the news agency reported.
SNIA, an association of feed manufacturers, said its members reported a 20% to 30% rise in orders, reflecting precautionary purchases and increased meat purchases by consumers.
Grocery sales of pasta, flour and rice in the previous week were three times the amount sold in the same period a year ago, according to market research firm Nielsen.
SIFPAF said French pasta makers have boosted output by about half, Reuters said.
Grain group Soufflet said demand for its flour more than doubled earlier in the week.
Demand is expected to ease this week as stockpiling lessens but there are concerns about transport and rising exports.
Soufflet said ports were operational and it is executing export orders as planned, Reuters said. France is on a path toward near-record wheat exports in the 2019-20 season.