19 March 2020
Demand boosted by panic buying
Panic buying linked to the coronavirus has boosted retail demand for fresh potatoes and frozen products, according to AHDB analysts.
However, sales into food service have dried up as the public moves away from restaurants and public spaces. There have been some reporting issues with availability of haulage as a result of packed schedules to restock supermarket shelves.
Britain's supermarkets are no longer in a state of competition, but one of co-operation. The government has announced a relaxation of trading laws and competition regulations, in an attempt to allow supermarkets to collaborate and share resources to ensure that the public has access to essential food and goods amidst the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
Since Friday, supermarkets have been allowed to share distribution depots, delivery transportation, retail workers, and even data access, to give Britain's grocers the most ammunition possible to combat shortages during a time of wildly unpredictable consumer demand. The government is also temporarily lifting the plastic bag tax for online deliveries, in an effort to prevent cross-contamination from delivery crates.
As the outbreak develops, there are some concerns over staff shortages for both hauliers and packers/processors, as an increasing number of the population self-isolate. (please see separate article at https://bit.ly/2UaRjpS)