I've done a little research about the food supply chain specifically. Presumably certain supply chains will be similar, certain ones will be different. Also note I am very much not an expert. The basic fact is that there is "enough food" but prices may rise and getting food may be worse. I think there are three key parameters, which could go either way:
(1) Hoarding/instability. Worst case scenario: people panic. People stockpile giant supplies of food. Food goes bad. People buy more food. Food gets prohibitively expensive. Best case scenario: supermarket situation stabilizes, panicky people feel like they have enough non-perishables stockpiled, most last-mile (grocery store) product shortages stop.
(2) Protectionism. This will be less dangerous in the US which exports more food than it imports. But certain countries, especially poorer countries that rely significantly on imports, will suffer if a global panic causes protectionist policies about food (e.g. wheat exporter Kazakhstan apparently stopped exporting grain because of coronavirus fears, see this article ). This is understandable, but probably bad. Here the best case according to this article is if big markets actively work to stabilize the market and punish protectionism (but the economics here is above my pay grade).
(3) Worker/driver issues. This mostly depends on "how freaked out blue-collar workers get". Currently most truck drivers, clerks, etc., are risking infection in exchange for a steady job. If things get bad (for example if there are wide-spread hospital bed shortages and fatality goes through the roof) *and younger people become afraid* (a big if), a big proportion of chain workers will take losing their job over getting infected. This would probably raise prices.
It's important to stress that it's *very unlikely* that anything catastrophic happens in developed countries like the US, and the worst-case scenario is government rationing. The example to keep in mind is WW2 Britain (I originally linked the wrong article here, which is also an interesting read ). Nevertheless, with rationing people survived basically healthy for several years of war.
Pushback against just-in-time supply chains sounds appealing, but how would it actually work? Is this something we can regulate, maybe make grocery stores go through stress tests like the ones we do for big banks? Somehow I have a hard time believing practices will change.
Found my source.
I had misremembered the insurance as cheap.