How the overpopulation of cities leads to displaced Food Workers

Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA skyline at dawn.

It’s no secret that overpopulation is one of America’s biggest environmental threats.

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, the U.S. population has increased from 205 million to 327 million. According to the US Census Bureau, it is forecasted to surge to a huge 404 million by 2060

While most cities saw a decline or pause of population growth during the pandemic, cities in the South and West of the US bucked the trend and continued their steady growth. Notably Idaho, which increased its population by 2.9% to 1,900,923.

As we move forward, the trend towards urbanization is returning, and cities are once again experiencing population booms—and in some cases—overpopulation. This puts pressure on food supply chains and retailers to meet this ever-increasing demand. 

So what does it all mean? Simply put, more mouths to feed, less food security. 

Our reliance on food supplies to consistently meet demand—the assurance that we’ll always have enough food to survive—has never been under more threat. 

Overpopulation puts a huge strain on food companies to make their supplies stretch further, and as a consequence, their staff work harder. But here lies the issue—what if they don’t have the staff to cope with demand? What does that do to supply, and how do CPG business owners cope? 

How overpopulation in cities leads to displaced food workers 

Let’s look at this logically. 

An increasingly urbanized world leads to a declining ration of food producers, or workers, to food consumers. 

This imbalance causes a huge strain on food companies as they are constantly battling against the tide to make supply meet demand, and who bears the brunt? Their workforces. 

While the huge spikes in the population are great for the global economy, they’re not so rosy for those people on the ground working to keep businesses afloat. 

Packers, cooks, kitchen workers, waitstaff, administrative personnel all face a huge spike in their workload as their audience, hungry city habitants, demand more and more and more—and they want it now. 

Be it greed or just the expected trajectory of an increasing population, this demand sees no signs of slowing down, especially now that cities return to normality after the pandemic—a time during which they even still saw incremental growth.

Add to that the abundance of socio-economic difficulties caused by overpopulation, and food workers are essentially wedged between a rock and a hard place, through no fault of their own. 

The formal term for this conundrum is ‘job displacement’. 

What is job displacement? 

Job displacement occurs when an occupation that is currently being held by an employee is removed. This can be due to a conscious decision made by the employer, or simply when a position becomes untenable for a worker. 

Effectively the rug of job security is pulled from beneath them, for many different reasons—none of which seem logical nor fair. 

This can be explained by the double-edged sword of overpopulation for food workers in growing cities. The rising, unmanageable workloads coupled with the huge socio-economic impact of overpopulation often leads to displacement. 

As the population increases, so do the housing costs, household bills, and general living expenses. Blue collar workers, those hands-on laborers in the food and beverage industry (packers, sorters, quality checkers etc) earning considerably less than their white collar counterparts, may find themselves unable to afford to survive, thus being displaced from their job through gentrification.

What is gentrification? 

This is the process of societal change where higher-income citizens move into the localization and completely take over. Prices rise to their standards, demand soars to their heights and the whole cultural character shifts, leaving those not on their level, in their wake. 

This pushes out citizens who are not affluent, leading to a whole host of discriminatory and ethical issues, none of which are ever really addressed or challenged. 

Cue the labor shortage

In the context of the food and beverage industry, this can lead to mass staff shortages and with an exponential demand to satisfy, it’s not unusual for CPG businesses to go under in today’s climate. 

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. When businesses do manage to keep their workers, they face another battle to ensure their employees are happy in the face of an overpopulated culture.

With gentrification displacement comes a shortened number of staff, and with a shortened number of staff, comes a bigger, heavier workload. Staff are required to work longer hours and have double the responsibility, often for no more money. What sort of effect does this have on motivation, morale, and overall job satisfaction? It doesn’t take a genius to work that out.

The domino effect this has is profound. In May of last year, employment at eating and drinking establishments plummeted by 12%, down by about 1.5 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. 

That is in contrast with the fact that there were more than nine million job openings in the US in April and May of last year, the highest numbers since the BLS began reporting job openings in 2000. 

This disassociation between record job openings and high unemployment rates in the hospitality and food sector is an issue that overpopulation has created, continues to create, and bears no indication of stopping. 

How does Buffalo Market help? 

So, where does that leave you as a CPG company? 

While being in a city with a growing population is vital for creating a booming business with a healthy balance sheet, the strain it causes can leave you with some tough decisions to make. 

One being sanity or success. This might be an extreme outlook to many but for those working in the industry it will make perfect sense. 

But here’s where people go wrong—a good business shouldn’t leave you with that ultimatum. Distributors are here to help your CPG business and guide you on the right path, allowing you time to work on the business rather than in it. 

Urbanization, overpopulation and the displacement of workers are three hand-in-hand issues that CPG company owners grapple to find a way around—when they throttle demand they drop their employee satisfaction, and vice versa. 

But invest in the right distributor, and your business will be much more equipped to juggle all three. 

Here at Buffalo Market, we assist retailers with stocking in-store to reduce strain on their workforce. We reimagine the supply chain, so that you can get your food or beverage product onto the shelves of your preferred stores without all the restrictive red tape, and we offer quick and timely delivery services to replenish stock.

These benefits are no short of godsends in the landscape of a fast moving food industry that is not only proliferated by more people, but by the unpredictability and changeability of consumer patterns— a direct consequence of the pandemic.

Our DSD Model

Ever wondered why a CPG’s distribution line has to be so complicated? We believe there’s an easier solution to getting your products to your retailers on time and in their best quality, without unnecessary waits. 

Having a team on the ground to carry out direct store delivery (DSD) is revolutionary for businesses struggling to meet the demand. This framework bypasses the retailer’s distribution center, and delivers your brand’s goods directly to the store.

Less labor-intensive work, fewer staff members to pay, less time for customers or retailers to wait, means more time to work on what really matters. Get the stock there, and the rest will follow—we understand time is money, and we’re here to maximize yours. 

Other benefits of the DSD model include reduced food miles, careful handling, ensuring your produce stays fresher for longer (as it is delivered within a shorter timeframe) which in turn, gives you a higher level of control. 

Why choose Buffalo Market? 

There’s no denying the difficulties CPG companies face in a modern consumerist world. 

If your brand is to climb above the rest and really make a name for itself in the mission-driven food niche, then you have to go above and beyond for your customers. And to do that, you need a reliable distributor. 

Ensuring quality remains at the core, distribution lines run smoothly and the brand message is loud and proud, we at Buffalo Market are on your side. 

Get in touch with our team now to begin your distribution journey. 

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