Food Engineering

Finish Line: Stock Up or Shut Up?

March 26, 2003


By the time you read this column, there will be less than 180 days left until 01/01/00 (a.k.a. Y2K, the millennium, New Year's Eve, the end of history -- no, that comes on May 5, 2000 according to the ancient Egyptians). What will you have done personally to prepare? Cash two months of paychecks? Obtain hard copies of credit and social security statements? Sell all stocks and bonds? Buy stocks and bonds? Head for the hills and hide? Will it be the end of life as we know it!? Doubtful...I think.

While most of the hoopla has been about potential disasters surrounding banks, planes and misinformed/misguided nuclear missiles, we don't hear a whole lot of hype about putting food (or not being able to put food) on the table.

How about our food supply and the intricate supply chain trafficking food to consumers' tables? Supply chain problems happen all the time. What will change six months from now on that dreadful stroke of midnight 12/31/99? If only it was stated as 1999 instead of 99 we wouldn't be having this dilemma.

Will it be a disaster? I don't think so. Well, at least I hope not. I am almost, fairly, somewhat confident that our industry will have worked out any problems in advance and will come through Friday the 31st, unscathed.

But, for those "doubting Thomas's," there is help. I searched the Internet for Y2K and Food and came up with 794,000 sites. PermaPak, Sam Andy and Ready Reserve Foods are among the doomsday profits who predict global shutdown of our food supply. Of course, these and others are more than willing to sell dehydrated disaster-food packages ranging from a four-day supply to a one-year supply with some items having shelf lives of seven to 15 years. I wonder if they provide bomb shelters as well.

I think I will take my chances. Honestly, I am more worried about May 5th than January 1st. Could this be the disaster that Nostradamus predicted? Hmm...food for thought.