KANSAS CITY — Labor, always a challenging issue for food manufacturers to navigate, has become even more so since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic back in March 2020. In presentations at the recent virtual Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference held Sept. 8-9 executives of many of the leading consumer packaged goods companies were asked to what degree they are addressing the labor issue. 

In most cases, executives said they have been able to find ways to navigate shortages. But the challenges, they said, are wide-ranging and extend all across the supply chain.

“I think what’s interesting about it is that the competition for labor and the variables that will influence our ability to continue to succeed in attracting and retaining labor has probably proven to be a little different than we might have thought going in,” said Mark A. Clouse, president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co., Camden, NJ. “Of…

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