Supermarket Food Supply Chains 'Stronger Than Ever' Amid Second Wave Fears
Back in spring, as the UK entered lockdown, panic buying of items such as toilet roll and hand sanitiser left many shoppers faced with empty shelves. But with coronavirus cases in England doubling every week and a tightening of measures seemingly looming, people have been assured that they needn't worry about getting their hands on food.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, urged the public to continue shopping as they normally would, safe in the knowledge we are well-prepared for any future lockdowns.
He said: "Retailers have done an excellent job in ensuring customers have access to food and necessities throughout this pandemic. Since March, retail businesses have strengthened their supply chains as well as investing hundreds of millions to make stores safe and secure for customers; this includes perspex screens, social distancing measures and additional hygiene measures. As such, retail remains a safe space for consumers, even under future lockdowns.
"Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under any future lockdown. Nonetheless, we urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would."
We're installing new protective screens at all our store checkouts this week, to help keep our customers and our colleagues safe. Morrisons - Feeding the Nation #ItsMoreThanOurJob pic.twitter.com/HxsskNCJB8
- Morrisons (@Morrisons) March 23, 2020
Reassuringly, ASDA told LADbible it has seen no signs of panic buying in its stores, adding that it has 'great availability' in store and online.
Tesco too is not experiencing any shortages and has more than doubled its online capacity from around 600,000 weekly slots at the start of the crisis to 1.5 million now. Aldi and Sainsbury's also continue to have 'good availability'.
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A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told LADbible: "The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We continue to work closely with food retailers and the food industry as we have done throughout the response to the coronavirus pandemic. They are operating normally and as expected."
So while this pandemic continues to bring us plenty to be worried about, it seems panic buying at this time would be both unhelpful and unnecessary.
But while food supply chains may be stronger than ever, growing cases in the UK is cause for concern, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected to tighten lockdown measures after admitting the UK is 'now seeing a second wave'.
Speaking earlier today (Monday), Sir Patrick Vallance - the Government's chief scientific adviser - said there could be 50,000 new cases a day by mid October if no action is taken.
He said: "At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.
"If, and that's quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days... if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day. 50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.
"The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days. That requires speed, it requires action and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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