AUSTRALIA'S pork industry is fully backing National Takeaway Day celebrations, one part of the ongoing #EatAloneTogether campaign in support of the food service industry.
Australian Pork Limited chief executive officer Margo Andrae said the pork industry was keenly supporting the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia initiative.
"Australian food service businesses have been severely impacted by COVID-19," she said.
Today's National Takeaway Day initiative is a great way we can all show our ongoing support for our favourite local restaurants and their employees.
"It's important we all do our bit to support local food service businesses, which are fighting against unprecedented challenges to get back on their feet.
"By sharing our own #EatAloneTogether takeaway experience on social media, we can promote our favourite restaurants even more widely."
Ms Andrae said the food service industry was a long-term supporter of Australian pork producers and that producers, in turn, continued to strongly support the food service industry.
"Many restaurants have adjusted their business models and stepped-up their takeaway offerings in the past couple of months to remain operational," she said.
"While dine-in restrictions remain in place, takeaway is a wonderful way to enjoy our favourite restaurant meals.
"It will take time for businesses to recover and while their employees remain impacted, APL will continue to work behind the scenes to support them.
"We'll continue to deliver the Hospo4Hospo initiative, which serves up free pork meals to hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19 shut-downs.
"We're also continuing with other APL initiatives that are providing resources, support and advice to our friends and partners across the food service industry."
The food service sector accounts for up to a quarter of all Australian pork sales and plays a huge role in promoting a wide array of pork dishes to consumers.
COVID-19 restrictions have effectively suspended food service supply chains and farmgate prices have been weaker as a result.
But in confidence-building news for producers and the whole industry, pig prices are now stabilising.
"Importantly for the 35,000 people working in Australia's $5.3 billion pork industry, it has been business as usual in terms of farmgate production in recent weeks," Ms Andrae said.
"This has ensured consumers have been well supplied with affordable and versatile Australian pork products.
"COVID-19 has created a number of hurdles for producers and processors, especially in terms of redirecting pork usually sold via food service outlets and ensuring continuity in our export sales."
Ms Andrae said exports to Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam had been crucial in maintaining supply balance in the domestic market during COVID-19 restrictions.
"With an improved seasonal outlook across much of the country, some much-needed relief from high fodder prices and record-breaking retail sales figures, Australian pork producers are confident about emerging from COVID-19 restrictions in a strong position," Ms Andrae said.
"As the food service industry slowly gets back on its feet, it's important we help the hospitality business operators, employees and families whose livelihoods have been jeopardised by COVID-19.
"Restaurants and other food service outlets across the country do such a wonderful job of promoting locally grown pork and other Australian farm produce. Now is a critical time for us to back them in their recovery."
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