Minnesota grocery industry assures: No shortage on the horizon

Shoppers have left some grocery store shelves empty amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The grocery store industry is assuring consumers that there is no supply chain issue, despite empty shelves at stores everywhere.

“The trucks are coming into our stores every day and they’re stocking and getting the products in,” said Jami Pfuhl of the Minnesota Grocers Association. “Things will level off. But we need everyone else’s help to get there. We need everyone to go back to their normal shopping habits.”

Supply chain management professor with the University of St. Thomas said consumption isn’t up, rather, hoarding of products is. He says once panic starts to ease, shelves will return to normal.

As for the empty shelves of toilet paper? He says because toilet paper is manufactured domestically, manufacturers are able to respond to increased demand rather quickly.

“Most toilet paper is made pretty locally so it won’t take too long to see toilet paper return,” he said.

As the virus spreads and takes more individuals out of the workforce, Goldschmidt said the food industry should remain stable as much of production is supported by automation, and the truck drivers that deliver the food work in isolation.

“There’s so much capacity in the supply chain that I don’t see many obstructions.”

In the short term, stores like Lunds and Byerlys and Cub Foods are putting a limit on purchases of high demand items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, in hopes of making those products available to more people.

Minnesota grocery stores alter hours, institute special shopping times for high-risk customers

The Minnesota Grocers Association is asking customers to be calm, mindful, respectful, flexible and patient as they head to grocery stores during the COVID-19 outbreak.