Consumers are panic-buying key items again as the coronavirus surges across the country — paper towels, disinfecting wipes, baking mixes and wine — but this time around, grocery chains and food manufacturers say they will be able to meet America’s urge to hoard and keep supply chains moving, even during the holiday season.
While Kroger, Giant, Target and other grocery chains have reinstated limits on high-demand items such as paper goods and disinfecting wipes, causing anxiety among shoppers, retailers and supply chain experts say they do not expect a return to the panicked hoarding and empty shelves of the spring.
“I’m not going to be a Pollyanna and say things are perfect,” says Geoff Freeman, the chief executive of the trade group Consumer Brands Association. “But we are fundamentally in a different place than we were in March and April. Even retailers rationing is a demonstration of lessons learned. The psychology of empty shelves causes a vicious cycle.”