One of the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the disruption to Japan’s food supply chain. The closing of schools and daycare centers, as well as restaurants and other food-related businesses, has meant that many suppliers have temporarily lost their usual customers. As the national state of emergency drags on, the disappearance of the usual sales routes for perishable foods has become ever more serious.
The domestic dairy industry has been hit particularly hard. School lunch programs, the main consumer of fresh milk, have not been in operation due to school closures, and milk sales took a further hit because of all the restaurant closures. In Hokkaido, the nation’s top dairy producing region, an additional blow has been the almost complete absence of tourists who usually buy lots of local dairy-based gifts, the prefecture’s pride and joy.