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  • Aalap Patel

The Effect Of Chinese New Year On The Ingredient Industry

From Fireworks to Food: How Cultural Celebrations Affect the Ingredient Industry

Ingredients and the food they go into are a central part of every culture. But cultural celebrations across the world have a significant impact on the ingredient supply chain as well.

While some celebrations demand higher quantities of specific ingredients in celebratory meals, which can easily lead to ingredient shortages from certain suppliers, the greatest challenges spring out of affected logistics.

From Chinese New Year to Diwali to Christmas - these joyous periods all impact the ingredient industry in their own way, affecting the supply chain from farming and harvesting to processing and distribution.

But our cultures are an intrinsic part of who we are, and they’re a cause to celebrate, not make us feel like a burden when business operations are affected. That’s why we believe so vehemently in preparing for the events that affect ingredient supply so we can embrace our diverse cultures. The trick is to meet the increased demand and affected supply chain head-on with gusto.

So let’s take a closer look at how cultural celebrations can affect your supply chain.

Why culture can easily get in the way of cuisine

The complexities and intricacies of the ingredient supply chain are nothing new, from farmers and producers to vendors and delivery companies. An ingredient's journey from the farm to your manufacturing plant can often be a labyrinthian one.

Now to make matters more interesting, you have to take into account the multitude of cultures that make up the workforce at every stage, each of which can affect the supply chain at different times of the year.

Let’s consider the three biggest reasons cultural celebrations affect the supply chain:

Suppliers that struggle to meet increased demand

Increased demand for specific ingredients puts pressure on suppliers and vendors to have greater volumes of ingredients ready to keep up with their buyers’ needs. But consumer demand and crop yield don’t always align.

Logistics become a nightmare when everyone wants the same product

Sourcing imported products in time for widespread events is another factor that can hamper the supply chain and slow down delivery times when the product you’re ordering is in high demand in other parts of the world as well.

Your order can easily disappear into the ether of “out-of-office” notifications

Lastly, it’s a time of celebration, not checking work orders and inboxes. And while it’s difficult to synchronize calendars in a multicultural world where our business partners aren’t necessarily taking things easy at the same time as us, it is possible. So even though we may live in a world where “money never sleeps”, we need to create a culture of understanding that is prepared for the events that will impact our operations.

Cultural celebrations can have a big impact on the ingredient supply chain, but once you understand the challenges that may pop up during these times, you can prepare an action plan in advance to mitigate the impact it has on your production. This is something that's especially important when it comes to country-wide events that have large-scale celebrations, events like Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year’s impact on the ingredient supply chain

Chinese New Year, also called Chunjie, is one of the biggest cultural celebrations in the world. At the same time, China is also one of the biggest exporters of ingredient products. As such, it’s no surprise that this period has a significant impact on the ingredient supply chain.

As part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, factories are closed to allow workers the opportunity to travel back to their families for the Spring Festival. This full-fledged annual migration is called Chun Yu.

And this year, production and distribution may be further hampered by the Winter Olympic Games 2023, which will be hosted in Beijing at the start of February, falling right in the middle of Chun Yu.

To make matters worse, while the coronavirus outbreak has become little more than an afterthought in many countries, Chinese cities like Shanghai and Xi’an still faced increasingly strict health and safety regulations in January 2023, which have led to food shortages in spite of the country’s efforts to maintain domestic food stability.

How do you keep your supply chain on track during the Chinese New Year?

The answer to these disruptions lies in strengthened relationships and increased inventory management.

Stronger relationships that are built on mutual understanding and respect can help build an increasingly challenge-free environment. When communication channels are open and transparent, and parties take one another into consideration in their plans, cultural events have far less of an impact on operations than they otherwise would have.

Optimal inventory management is just as important a part of the solution. Events as large as Chinese New Year are known to disrupt manufacturing and distribution channels, so you must plan ahead and ensure that you have enough stock to carry you through the first few months of the year. But that’s only possible when you understand the relationship between your operations and inventory.

Yet unforeseen events do occur. We’re the first to acknowledge that. And that’s why it’s so important to have a supply partner who knows how to weather the storm and has been through the worst and “left no one behind”. You need a partner that won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes and keep you in the dark while they try to fix things.


Why Ingredient Brothers should be your wingman throughout cultural celebrations

We’re a company that’s built on relationships and the quality service that brings about. We know that events like Chinese New Year are a constant part of the supply chain, and we’ve built our client and vendor relationships around accepting and celebrating the rich cultural experiences that await us.

Most importantly, we’ve built our relationships on transparency, communicating openly about the challenges and hiccups on both sides of the supply chain.

So if you’re facing the reality of a supply chain that’s been left a little worse for wear after cultural celebrations, schedule a call with us, and we’ll help you get things back on track.

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