What is happening with Grocery Stores and the Supply Chain during COVID-19?

What is happening with Grocery Stores and the Supply Chain during COVID-19?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has united us in ways that we have never been before – and yet it has also resulted in some pretty bizarre behaviour such as stockpiling toilet paper and other essentials. Of course, when other people see empty shelves at their local grocery store, this only perpetuates the fear and leads to even more panic buying.

At Royal Supply Chain, we understand that these are scary times for people. But we want to help ease those fears – or at least those fears that lead some people to think our country is running out of food. We are not. Our supply chain is safe.

Then why are we seeing empty shelves in grocery stores?

Essentials are being delivered to our grocery stores every day – maybe even more frequently now than they were before COVID-19. A number of municipalities have even lifted noise by-law restrictions so that trucks can now deliver to grocery stores at night.

The problem is that at many stores, people are still buying faster than the stores can restock.

Grocery stores have to be very careful about how much inventory they carry. With very tight margins – about 1.5% – these stores simply cannot afford to be overstocked.

All over the world, we are seeing increased demands for pantry staples. According to Nielsen data, demand for the following items has increased in the week of March 14th.

  • Toilet paper demand increased by 212%.
  • Dried beans demand increased by 230%
  • Rice demand increased by 166%
  • Canned tuna demand increased by 142%

However, as people begin to realize that there is no supply crisis, it only makes sense that demand levels will return back to normal over time.

Borders are still open for truckers in our supply chain.

While the Canada-US border has been closed for non-essential travel, it’s important to remember that truckers have been deemed essential. And with good reason – approximately 70% of all trade that is done between Canada and the United States is done using truck transport.

Trucks continue to cross the border each and every day bringing imports from the United States.

Much of our food is produced domestically.

Another important thing to remember is that Canada is also a net exporter of some categories of food as well. We are major suppliers of beef, dairy, grains, poultry, etc.  We are also a major producer of paper and pulp – so there is not much likelihood of their being any long-term shortage of TP in the near future either!

Wholesalers, suppliers, and distributors are working together.

During this time, businesses in all industries are facing challenges that they never have before. Grocery stores and their suppliers are no exception.  They are dealing with everything from how to keep their employees and customers safe, to how they can ensure there is enough product on the shelves for everyone.

It is not an easy task, but it can and will be done.

Thank-you essential workers!

Throughout this pandemic we have seen various expressions of gratitude to our essential workers.  (And rightly so) We need to remember that grocery store workers, truckers and all those in the supply chain are most definitely essential during this time.  It is they who help ensure that we can feed ourselves and our families – all the while putting themselves at increased risk of contracting the virus.

So from the team at Royal Supply Chain, we offer our sincere thanks to these courageous workers.