‘Supermarket bosses launched a plea for calm among shoppers yesterday after a wave of panic-buying around the country cleared shelves as people stockpiled for the expected coronavirus epidemic.
The chaotic scenes, with people scrabbling to load up with loo rolls, long-life milk and pasta, have led to rationing by the major shop chains – and triggered alarm in No 10.
The issue has been high on the agenda of Boris Johnson‘s COBRA emergency meetings on the crisis, with the Army being readied as a contingency to guard supermarkets and secure food convoys.
More than one third of shoppers have said they are stockpiling produce.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents most of Britain’s supermarkets, said the rise in demand for certain products was ‘unprecedented outside of the Christmas period’, with the difference that it was focused mainly on ‘hygiene and longer shelf-life food products’.’
Read more: Supermarket bosses plead for an end to panic buying: Third of shoppers admit stockpiling as stores are stripped bare and left ‘looking like a riot zone’ as customers scrabble for loo rolls, pasta and long-life milk