Empty shelves_Kroger Donna_2

Shoppers have emptied the shelves of toilet paper at Kroger on Country Club Road Thursday, March 12.

Food industry officials are advising consumers to stop panic shopping and hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, which is causing disruptions in the supply chains serving neighborhood grocery stores.

Frenzied shoppers and hoarders have caused serious supply chain problems for high- demand items, such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes. Also, shoppers are seeing empty shelves for such basics as meat, eggs, milk and other items.

Many grocery stores have put limits on high-demand products for more equal distribution and to give time for building the supply chain back to more normal levels.

Retailers are also trying to hire more people to meet the high demand and to give more time to keep the stores as clean and disinfected as they can.

For example, Market Watch reported that Kroger Co. has put limits on the high-demand products, and has stepped up cleaning of cashier stations and self-checkout kiosks and wiping down shopping carts.

Walmart has cut hours and has announced it is hiring 150,000 more employees and is also taking extra precautions for employees and customers.

Brookshire's, which also operates Super 1 Foods and Spring Markets, is strongly encouraging their first hour of operations be reserved as a dedicated time for senior citizens. The company is also offering a temporary five percent daily discounts for people 60 and older through May 5.

Companies that supply the food chain are also in the process of building supplies back up to more normal levels.

The Denver Post quoted Richard Mizell, safety director for Load To Ride Transportation in Denver, who said, "It's not a supply issue. It's not that we're running out of anything. Right now we're catching up."

He added that nobody anticipated the nationwide problem and didn't have stock on shelves waiting to go when it hit.

Also quoted in the article, Jack Buffington, who is an assistant professor of supply chain management at the University of Denver, said the short-term shocks should be overcome within a week or so.

It would be helpful if people would calm down and be more regulated in their shopping so as not to increase the already serious supply chain problem.

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