COVID’S Impact On The TCM Herbal Industry

Posted on Nov. 9, 2021
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COVID's Impact on the TCM Herbal IndustryThe COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every industry worldwide. With entire populations going in and out of lockdowns, the labor force and supply chains have been severely disrupted. In addition, as consumers focus more on health than ever before, demand for wellness products has spiked, causing inventory shortages in certain sectors.

The health and wellness industry, an already-booming sector worth trillions of dollars, has seen marked change as the world grapples with what it means to be well in the age of a pandemic. In many countries, the healthcare system has predominantly focused on the treatment of diseases, rather than on prevention of those diseases and health promotion. COVID-19 has exposed the short-sightedness of this approach and amplified the importance of prevention.

Within the TCM industry, this shift has been both a burden and a boon. We have faced shipment delays, significant price increases of raw herbs and closures in key herbal supply regions. We have also witnessed a soaring demand for natural wellness remedies, complementary medicines and traditional wisdom.

KPC has not been exempt from these changes. We have worked tirelessly to continue serving our global network of distributors, practitioners and patients. We are now looking to the future, working hard to educate ourselves and our community to make the TCM industry as resilient as possible, no matter what lies ahead.

COVID-19’S IMPACT ON TCM CONSUMERS

The economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating in many industries. Widespread shutdowns of businesses and difficulties sourcing materials have caused a shortage in supply. Simultaneously, rising unemployment and financial insecurity, coupled with reprioritization of values away from consumption, has resulted in lower demand in many sectors.

This has not been the TCM industry’s experience. Health and wellness has always resonated with people, and especially so in the current climate. Consumers are seeking ways to empower themselves against the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and exert some control over their health. Beyond the immediate health threat, many people are reevaluating how they can take better care of themselves. Wellness is not simply a trend; it is an essential component of both physical and mental well-being.

Demand for wellness products and services, including Chinese herbs and other TCM modalities, has surged. Even in the face of financial uncertainty, consumers are recognizing the importance of preventative wellness and allocating more funds to promoting life-long health. Individuals are becoming more passionate, proactive and dedicated to self-care, a promising shift for the TCM industry’s long-term growth.

Here at KPC and in our manufacturing facilities, our teams work relentlessly to keep up with the increased demand for Chinese herbs. We are committed to ensuring our distributors can continue to serve their customers and practitioners can continue to deliver exceptional care for their patients.

COVID-19’S IMPACT ON TCM BUSINESSES

One of the most notable consequences of the pandemic has been climbing unemployment rates. Many businesses have been forced to reduce their workforce, temporarily close their doors or shut down completely. This has had, and will continue to have, devastating repercussions for employers and employees alike.

Businesses face numerous other difficult choices. Companies with facilities in heavily impacted areas must restructure their business in order to stay afloat. Industries that have seen dramatic increases in costs are grappling with addressing the rising cost of doing business while remaining fair to customers.

KPC does not take these matters lightly. Despite the workforce issues affecting other industries and companies, we remain committed to providing the high-quality products and maintaining the exceptional and personalized service our customers expect. KPC is operating at full capacity and available daily during business hours to fulfill orders and respond to questions.

Although the prices of raw herbs have increased significantly during this time, we are taking on the extra costs ourselves rather than passing them on to customers. We remain faithful to our family values and our mission to spread the benefits of TCM around the world, even during difficult circumstances.

COVID-19’S IMPACT ON TCM SUPPLY CHAINS

The ripple effects of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt throughout global supply chains in both B2B and B2C industries. Backlogged ports and port closures are causing two to three-month stock delays, increasing lead time. We have also observed an increase of over 300% in ocean freight cost, driving unusually high inflation in the price of many products.

Along with severe logistical blocks, businesses have endured export restrictions by supplier countries, as well as slowdowns in the production of medicines and dietary supplements in affected countries. The TCM industry has faced unique supply chain challenges, as some botanical raw materials grow in areas heavily affected by COVID-19 and in remote regions that complicate the flow of ingredients from source to manufacturer even under pre-pandemic conditions.

The KPC team is making every effort to mitigate shortages. Our complete inventory of over 300 formulas and over 400 single herbs has remained fully stocked throughout the pandemic. As always, we are maintaining the highest standards, including ISO certifications and compliance with international pharmaceutical and manufacturing guidelines, including the U.S. FDA cGMP and Australian TGA PIC/S GMP.

The heightened demand for Chinese herbs poses a threat to the long-term availability of raw ingredients if the TCM industry fails to adopt sustainable cultivation and harvesting practices. In recognition of this, KPC strives to minimize our environmental impact and preserve the rich traditions of TCM for future generations. Learn more about our commitment to ethical sourcing here.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, FOR THE TCM INDUSTRY AND THE WORLD

Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed many of our beliefs and behaviors. They have impacted our bodies and minds, our families and communities, our workplaces and our daily routines in ways that will follow us for years to come.

The global wellness market is healthy and growing as personal health is now a top priority for consumers. Demand for herbal supplements, especially those that purport to support immune function, is immense and could continue to remain high as the world adjusts to its new normal.

For the TCM industry, the pandemic underscores the need to address issues with risk mitigation in supply chains, inventory management and sustainability. We see this as an opportunity. Businesses that successfully navigate the upheavals of this crisis stand to benefit as consumers look for natural alternatives to support long-term health using a more proactive approach.

KPC will continue to support the Traditional Chinese Medicine community through the pandemic and beyond. Thank you for trusting us to help you serve your customers and patients when health matters most. If you have questions regarding KPC’s products or best practices for evolving with this challenging period, please do not hesitate to contact our team for help.