Supply Chain Council of European Union | Scceu.org
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Stockpiling of toilet paper, food returns as COVID-19 cases surge

JERSEY CITY — It’s déjà vu for supermarkets and wholesalers nationwide as a surge in COVID-19 cases prompts a new round of panic shopping not seen since the height of the pandemic.

Experts say the difference this time around is that many manufacturers are better prepared, allowing retailers to turn around more product.

While images of empty shelves are making the rounds on social media, local franchises like Stop and Shop insist they are not experiencing the levels of stockpiling seen since March.

In a statement to PIX11 News, a spokesperson said they “encourage everyone to continue buying what they need, there is no need for panic.”

Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed, a New York-based online shopping club that delivers groceries in bulk sizes says they’ve seen a significant uptick in a number of products in the past month including a 400% increase in disinfectants, toilet paper is up by 200% and wine, up 126%.

“That is just a very unnatural week over week rise, no matter what holiday we are going into,” he told PIX11 News. “So it’s very clear folks are really hunkering down because there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Experts say much of the panic shopping trend is commonly fueled by perception where consumers who see images of others stockpiling goods are then triggered to follow suit.

It results in even more chaos, according to Dr. Rebecca Mannis, a learning specialist.

“We are hardwired to go into survival mode,” she said. “Survival mode happens when we anticipate a danger — It could be true danger or it could be perceived danger.”

When it comes to the experts the best piece of advice: shop online.

It’s where the inventory will always be bigger and the chances of you getting what you’re looking for, better.

It also saves you a trip to the store.

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