How To Help: Stop Panic Buying Food During Lockdown
Food retailers have been busy adapting their supply lines to make sure everyone can get the food they need - but are customers listening when they're asked to stop panic buying?
The UK government has urged people to stop stockpiling, with industry experts assuring the country that the 'supply chain isn't about to come to a halt', but they need people to play their part.
It comes as shocking footage continues to be shared online showing shoppers stripping supermarket shelves of food and essential goods, such as pasta and toilet roll.
On top of that, a councillor in Derby recently shared pictures of bins overflowing with fresh food, stockpiled but not eaten.
The British Retail Consortium is keen to stress there is enough to go around and that it is vital we all act responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to LADbible, a spokesperson for the BRC was clear that shops will remain well-stocked, as long as we allow them to.
They said: "Retailers are in regular contact with suppliers to keep them updated of the latest demand. They are bringing in as much as possible to meet the needs of UK customers.
"The supply chain isn't about to come to a halt.
"There is plenty that is made locally - toilet rolls for a start. The problem isn't a supply issue, it's a demand one - retailers can't get toilet rolls from warehouses to shelves as fast as people are buying them - if people buy considerately there will be supply for everyone."
This message was echoed by the UK government, which said it is in constant contact with supermarkets and retailers to make sure that supplies are moving easily, despite the ongoing pandemic.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recently introduced measures to ease competition, allowing supermarkets to work together by sharing data on stock levels, distribution depots and even delivery vans, to keep the country going.
It has also extended delivery hours to supermarkets and drivers' hours, to make sure essential foods and toiletries make it to the shop shelves.
Iceland boss Richard Walker told Radio 4's Today programme that shoppers who are able to travel to supermarkets shouldn't follow the Prime Minister's advice of buying food online, but go to stores safely instead.
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"I'd actually urge the opposite of the prime minister, in that, if you are healthy, not in a vulnerable category and adhere to social distancing guidelines, please do shop in store, but make sure you shop responsibly," he said - which includes just buying what you need as normal.
"No panic-buying, adhere to the two-metre rule, because that will enhance priority online for those who need it most.
"By stripping the shelves and not shopping responsibly, it means that others go without."
The government told LADbible there were 'plenty of stocks' available and once again urged people to only take as much as they need.
A spokesperson said: "We are in regular contact with the food industry to ensure it is well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios.
"Retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and have provided reassurance there is plenty of stock available."
Tesco has adapted its online delivery services - setting a new limit of 80 products per customer to get more orders on their vans while demand on delivery slots is high.
All the big supermarket brands have introduced social distancing in stores too, as well as marked queues outside stores and floor markings near tills and in the aisles.
Tesco's chief executive, Dave Lewis, said: "Our aim is to ensure everyone has safe access to the food and essentials they need."
A senior food source told The Grocer that the ramped up demand should slow down soon though.
They said: "We are forecasting that this will not last too long as the demand cannot stay at this level. There is more than £1bn of extra food in people's homes so demand has to slow at some point and allow stock levels to return to something approaching normal.
"Across all categories, the food is there. We are not going to run out of food. There is food security, but it is just in the wrong place at the moment and we need to figure out how to get it to where it needs to be."
LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on coronavirus, click here.
Featured Image Credit: PA