Shoppers urged not to panic buy as supermarket shelves stripped bare
PUBLISHED: 10:22 15 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:59 16 March 2020
Shoppers are being urged not to buy more than they need amid concerns over coronavirus-linked stockpiling as supermarkets in Norfolk see shelves stripped bare.
In a joint letter, UK food retailers appealed for customers to shop responsibly, so that others are not left without much-needed items.
Supermarkets have seen a surge in demand for essential items and long-lasting foodstuffs with shelves emptied of items like toilet rolls, pasta, tinned soup, baked beans and tinned tomatoes. Pictures posted on social media show empty shelves in branches of Tesco, Sainsburys and Aldi in Norwich, North Walsham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
In its letter to customers British Retail Consortium members urged everyone to work together to ensure there is enough food and said retailers are currently working 'round the clock' to help customers get the items they need.
It said: 'We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
'We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.'
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The letter added: 'But we need your help too. We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop.
'We understand your concerns, but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together.
'Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home.'
Firms are working closely with the Government and suppliers, and have arranged more store deliveries to ensure shelves are stocked, the letter added.
Some stores have limited sales of some items.
Tesco shoppers are limited to buying no more than five of certain goods, including anti-bacterial gels, wipes and sprays, dry pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.
Waitrose has brought in a temporary cap on some items on its website, while Boots and Asda are restricting some types of hand sanitiser to two bottles per person.
Signs in Sainsburys headed 'Think before you buy' says they are experiencing 'huge demand' for certain items and urges people to 'only buy what you need'.
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In a tweet Aldi said: 'As we have seen an unprecedented demand across our range, we will be limiting customer purchases to four units on all products to ensure all of our customers have an opportunity to purchase them.'
It added: 'But we need your help too. We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. There is enough for everyone if we all work together.
'Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours. Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home.'
Some food banks also say they have a shortage of basic items.
Waveney Food Bank said: 'Unfortunately due to a slow down in donations because of Covid 19 we are now almost out of fruit juice, UHT milk, sugar, pasta sauce, instant mash and powdered milk. If you can help by donating an item or more please do.'
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