Coronavirus diaries: The food business

The food business shows how ordinary business metrics take on a distinctly different flavour during the coronavirus pandemic. With people panic-buying staples or seeking comfort and treats during lockdown, demand couldn’t be healthier. But with supply chains and distribution channels disrupted beyond recognition, and teams firefighting the problems from home, it can quickly become a project management headache.

Ellen Jarrett works at Ella’s Kitchen, the baby food brand, heading up what others would call the PMO. At Ella’s they call it the ‘makes stuff run smoothly’ team. Jarrett laughs at the irony: she’s now making things run smoothly while trying to look after three children – aged one, five and eight. “I’ve had to project manage how to project manage,” she says. “Before all this I'd have said I was an exceptional multitasker, but if you throw enough unmentionable at someone they won’t be able to cope. This has pushed me to the absolute maximum.”

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Posted by Dave Waller on 22nd Apr 2020

About the Author

Dave Waller is a writer based in Cornwall. His work involves listening to people share stories of forging their own path and making a positive contribution to the world. And then crafitng it in a way that's fun to read. This could end up anywhere from the business pages of The Times to a stage at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He's also very interested in the blurring of lines between observing and participating – he keeps coming back to music, and its power to create space for people to learn and grow and not treat each other quite so badly.

Image: hxdyl/

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