WSJ: Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, some grocery stores are reported to be returning, at least temporarily, to an inventory system more similar to the old warehousing method, rather than the newer just-in-time delivery system, in order to avoid shortages of important items this winter. Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.

Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.

Southeastern Grocers LLC secured holiday turkeys and hams over the summer, months before it normally starts inventory planning, said Chief Executive Anthony Hucker. And grocery wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. has loaded up on extra inventory of cranberry sauce, herbal tea and cold remedies, said President Chris Testa.

“We started talking about Thanksgiving in June. That’s earlier than we ever have,” he said.

Associated Food Stores recently started building “pandemic pallets” of cleaning and sanitizing products so it always has some inventory in warehouses, said Darin Peirce, vice president of retail operations for the cooperative of more than 400 stores. The company is establishing protocols so it can better manage scenarios of high demand.

“We will never again operate our business as unprepared for something like this,” he said.

These changes, a reaction to the sudden and massive shortages grocers experienced in the spring, amount to a shift from the just-in-time inventory management practices that have guided the fast-moving retail business for decades.

Now, food sellers are stockpiling months, rather than weeks, worth of staples such as pasta sauce and paper products to better prepare for this winter, when people are expected to hunker down at home. Ahold Delhaize USA, SpartanNash Co. SPTN -0.31% and others say they are buying more food as soon as they can, stocking warehouses with wellness and holiday items. Many retailers are expanding distribution capacity, augmenting warehouse space and modifying shifts.

They say they want to be ready for a potential Covid-19 surge that experts are warning could hit as soon as this fall, as daily reported cases are increasing again in many states after falling in the summer. More than 200,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S.

A fresh increase in demand in the event that officials reinstate restrictions on restaurants or workplaces would also run up against the normal holiday boom in grocery sales, further elevating demand for items like baking products, pasta, meat and paper towels.

Back in March, “we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Chris Lewis, executive vice president of supply chain at Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services.

Ahold Delhaize, owner of the Giant and Food Lion chains, already has its holiday inventory in its warehouses. The grocer is also storing 10% to 15% more inventory than it did before the pandemic to ensure it won’t run out of fast-selling items.

Industry executives say they don’t think a potential wintertime burst in grocery demand will be as extreme as it was in March, when people panic-shopped, fearing grocery-store closures or food shortages. Consumers are better prepared this time around, said Sean Connolly, chief executive of Conagra Brands Inc. CAG +0.48%

Some retailers are also betting that recent investments in warehouses and e-commerce will help them meet demand for home deliveries in the coming months.

Still, some products such as cleaning wipes and canned vegetables remain hard for stores to obtain, partly because of continued high demand and because manufacturers are still trying to keep up. Some manufacturers are worried they will lose production capacity if infections break out among their workers or if other issues, such as lack of child care, prevent people from working… (continues)

Organic Prepper: Supply Chain Is Broken and Food Shortages Are HERE

Robert Wheeler at The Organic Prepper writes The Supply Chain Is Broken and Food Shortages Are HERE.

If you are a reader of this site, you might be more interested in the food supply chain than most, at least when things are good. So, if you have been paying attention recently, you might find that there have been some severe disturbances in that supply chain.

Several months ago, the immediate disruptions began at the beginning of the COVID-19 hysteria, when factories, distribution centers, and even farms shut down under the pretext of “flattening the curve.”

As a result, Americans found necessities were missing on the shelves for the first time in years. Items like hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes were, of course, out of stock.

Soon other items became noticeably missing as well.

People began to notice meat, and even canned vegetables and rice were soon missing from the shelves. Most of this was simply the result of mass panic buying, although “preppers” were blamed for “hoarding.” Therefore, people who had not been prepping all along and were suddenly caught with their pants down.

But that’s not the whole story.

Manufacturing and packaging facilities and slaughterhouses shut down due to intrusive totalitarian government reactions to an alleged pandemic. Combined with panic buying, those facilities’ ability to replace what was bought up was drastically reduced. As a result, consumers were forced to wait weeks before buying what they needed (or wanted) again. Even then, they had to show up in the morning.

We are still experiencing those shortages, though better hidden. As anyone who shops regularly can tell you, you can find what you need, but you may have to go to three stores to get it, where one would have done in the past. In this article, you’ll find some advice about dealing with the limited varieties of inventory that people are currently noticing at stores.

War launched on the economy by state governments put millions of Americans out of work.

Now, when most rational people would be happy to have a job at all amid such high unemployment, they were prepared to stop the machine’s wheels from working.

Workers suddenly started to organize, strike, and walk off the job conveniently when the food supply was already broken. Of course, these workers had not organized or initiated a strike at any time before when working conditions were bleak, and wages were low.

While extraordinary times beget extraordinary reactions, the timing of the newfound sense of workers’ resolve cannot go unnoticed.

At the same time, we witnessed farms dumping thousands of gallons of milk down the drain, meat producers slaughtering animals and burying them, and farmers destroying crops all over the country and the world.

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, many major producers would not want a glut of their product on the market and see their prices dropdown.

Second, with the totalitarian measures forcing the shut down of restaurants across the country, many farms and producers lost a massive part of their market, thus destroying it.

A government genuinely concerned with its people’s health would have bought that produce and either distributed it or freeze-dried and stored it for the coming apocalypse.

Indeed, the Trump administration attempted this with some very minor success and high cost. Food banks at least benefited. But the damage to the food supply was already done.

And then came the winds.

As time moved forward, we saw devastating straight-line winds blow across places like Iowa, destroying massive amounts of crops and farming infrastructure, effects rarely advertised on mainstream media outlets.

Following those winds, we saw massive wildfires along the West Coast’s entirety from Washington to California and as far east as Colorado, South Dakota, and Texas.

One need only take a look at the map at fires seemingly heading east, burning up prairies and farmland all along the way to see that the food chain will experience yet even more hiccups once the smoke has cleared.

But while leftists claim the fires are the natural result of “climate change” and conservatives blame lack of adequate forest management (which has some merit), both completely ignore the fact that close to ten people were arrested for setting these fires.

Repeatedly, arsonists are being arrested for starting blazes though the motive is unclear. Those of us who have studied history, however, can speculate with some certainty.

But these problems are not unique to the United States.

Countries all over the world are experiencing supply chain problems. Australia, for instance, is about to run out of its domestic rice supply by December entirely.

Now, here we are, with winter fast approaching and the food supply decimated. The world’s population is walking around masked and terrified of getting within six feet of another human, and the cities all across America are on fire with violent riots.

Communists and the inevitable response are clashing in the streets and threatening to turn in to a possible American Civil War 2.0. What role will hunger play in this scenario?

At the moment, we can’t say for sure.

But what we can say with certainty is that this will be a very long, very trying winter.

Food shortages are coming, and they aren’t too far away.

You do not have much time left before the items you can grab now are gone and gone for good. Here are some tips for shopping when there aren’t many supplies left on the shelves, and here’s a list of things that are usually imported from China that we haven’t been receiving in the same quantities (if at all) since the crisis began.

Many of the readers of this website will be prepared, no doubt, but others won’t. Not only do we advise you to prepare – but we also advise you to be ready for the unprepared.

Have you seen shortages in your area? Do you still have quantity limits on certain purchases? Some areas seem better stocked than others.

TMIN: Get Prepared for Coming Food Shortages

The Most Important News writes about existing and forecast food shortages in You May Not Understand This Now, But You Need To Get Prepared For The Food Shortages That Are Coming

I was going to write about something completely different today, but I felt that I needed to issue this warning instead.  Even before COVID-19 came along, crazy global weather patterns were playing havoc with harvests all over the globe, the African Swine Fever plague had already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the world, and giant armies of locusts the size of major cities were devouring crops at a staggering rate on the other side of the planet.  And now this coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented worldwide economic shutdown, and this has put an enormous amount of stress on global food supplies.

On the official UN website, the United Nations is openly using the term “biblical proportion” to describe the famines that are coming.  Even if COVID-19 miraculously disappeared tomorrow, a lot of people on the other side of the world would still starve to death, but of course COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon.

Here in the United States, our stores still have plenty of food.  But empty shelves have started to appear, and food prices are starting to go up aggressively.

In fact, we just witnessed the largest one month increase in food prices that we have seen since 1974.

For a long time I have been warning my readers that eventually a loaf of bread in the U.S. will cost five dollars, and one of my readers in Hawaii just told me that “my wife came home with ½ loaf of bread for $2.99”.

So it appears that the day I have been warning about has already arrived for some people.

Of course the price of meat is going up even faster than the price of bread.  The following is an excerpt from an email that one of Robert Wenzel’s readers in Alaska just sent him

Our local Costco as of now, beef hamburger is $9 a pound, and steaks are $18 a pound. Hamburger was at $3.50 a pound before all this.

Our local butcher shops, that butcher and package the little local beef that is raised here, are all out of meat.

Luckily, I have a couple moose in our freezers, and plenty of canned smoked salmon, and salmon season is coming soon again.

Hopefully the price of hamburger has not nearly tripled in your area yet, but without a doubt meat prices are going to just keep heading higher.

Ultimately, it is all about supply and demand.  Meat processing facilities have been shut down all over America due to COVID-19, and this is starting to create some really annoying shortages

If you go to Wendy’s this week, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get a hamburger. Go to the supermarket and you’ll probably see some empty shelves in the meat section. You may also be restricted to buying one or two packs of whatever’s available. Try not to look at the prices. They’re almost definitely higher than what you’re used to.

This is the new reality: an America where beef, chicken, and pork are not quite as abundant or affordable as they were even a month ago.

But as I keep reminding my readers, the only reason these meat shortages are so severe is because many farmers are unable to make their normal sales to the processing plants that have closed down.

As a result, a lot of these farmers have been forced to gas or shoot thousands of their animals

For farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwestern states, they have had little choice but to euthanize the backlog of animals, which means gassing or shooting thousands of pigs in a day, according to The New York Times.

The financial and emotional repercussions on the farmers are profound. Some farmers lose as much as $390,000 in a day, said the report. So far 90,000 pigs have been killed in Minnesota alone.

In the end, a lot of farmers may have to go out of business after being financially ruined during this crisis, and we will seriously miss that lost capacity in the days ahead.

Because the truth is that global food supplies are only going to get tighter and tighter.  As I have discussed previously, UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley has warned that we are facing “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, and he insists that we could soon see 300,000 people literally starve to death every single day…

“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.

And did you catch that last part?

He specifically excluded the effects of COVID-19 from his very ominous projection.

So the truth is that the number of people starving to death each day could ultimately end up being far, far higher.

In wealthy western countries, starvation is not an imminent threat.  But what we are seeing is an explosion of hunger that is absolutely unprecedented.  All over America, people have been lining up “for hours” at America’s food banks so that they can be sure to get something before the supplies run out…(continues)

AYWtGS: Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve

A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article about planning ahead for the next waves of the virus and associated second and third order effects in Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve.

All of us have heard a lot about flattening the curve.  And according to many experts, we have successfully flattened the curve – to a greater or lesser degree depending on where in the country you live.  But we have a new problem now.  People are thinking about re-emerging from their respective lockdowns – whether self-imposed or government imposed.  And all that many people want is for life to return to normal.  Okay, I’ll level with you.  *I* want life to return to normal, but that isn’t my focus right now.  My focus is on getting ahead of the curve.

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17894 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”240″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C819&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C614&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1229&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1638&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C520&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C480&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Getting Ahead of the Curve?

So what I do mean by ‘getting ahead of the curve?’    It’s a fairly common phrase – “getting ahead of the curve.”  In our circumstances, I mean that we need to be able to look toward the future and see what actions we need to take NOW to take care of our families down the road.

Don’t be deceived – this is only the first wave of the virus.  If the pattern of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 holds true, there will be at least 3 waves of this virus.  So if we are seeing an end to the first wave of the Covid-19, we need to start about thinking about preparing for the second and third waves.  We also need to start trying to figure out what will the financial and practical fallout be for our country, region, state, county, city, and family.

Practical Fallout

One way that we’re already experiencing practical fallout is in the breakdown of our supply chain.  When I was at church yesterday – and yes, for the first time in seven weeks, we actually went to church I spent some time talking with a friend who lives in rural Illinois.  She was telling us that they have friends who work in pig farming.  They started probably two months ago, killing off any baby pigs that they didn’t think were going to be among the best of the litter.  Since then, they’ve taken measures to abort any baby pigs at all.  They know that they aren’t going to have the money to feed those pigs until the meat production plants reopen.

We’re already hearing about how Tyson has been shutting down plants because workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.  We’ve seen shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garden seeds, soups, pasta, masks, gloves, and so many other things.

So what can we do?  Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignright wp-image-17895 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C681&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C511&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1022&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1363&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C399&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Start now and watch the news.  What item or items (whether in your area or in the entire country) is likely going to become scarce in the near future?

1.)  Right now, if you have room in your freezer or you can pressure can, picking up extra meat is very important.  Bacon was already out of stock at Costco when I went out (with gloves and mask) last week.  They didn’t even have beef in the form that I usually pick it up.  Pork and chicken are the two types of meat that are in the greatest danger of seeing shortages.  The sooner you can get out and stock up, the better off you are.

2.)  Restock any foodstuffs that you can to bring your food numbers back to where they need to be.  If you’ve been using my book and workbook system to get your long-term food storage to where it needs to be and your short-term food storage to 3 months, then you know what areas you’ve been taking from during these last two months. Make sure that you fill them back up.  We’ve used significant amounts of oatmeal and tomato sauce.  When I was out at the post office today, we stopped at a store to refill our personal stores.

3.)  Restock any non-foodstuff items.  Have you worked your way through almost an entire pack of gloves?  See if you can replenish them.  Do you have to wear a mask when you’re out in public?  Are you running low?  Can you make your own, purchase single-use face masks, or another reusable alternative?  How are you on shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent?

Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17896 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Financial Fallout

How stable do you believe your job is?  How about your spouse’s job?  I known and met people who have lost parts of their income because of Covid-19.  I know people who have lost their entire income because of the virus as well.

Even if you think that things are on sure footing, it is a good time now to create an alternate budget.   We have the regular budget that we operate on a month to month basis, but then we have an alternative budget.  First off, If you’ve never used YNAB – You Need A Budget – then I would highly recommend that you check it out.  It is a yearly subscription fee, but it has saved us so much money during the four years that we’ve used it.

So we’ve back to this alternate budget.  It’s a bare-bones budget with every convenience that we feel like we could live without cut out of it.  We aren’t living on that budget, but we’re looking at a time when that might be necessary to live on less.  This enables us to ask, “How much less can we live on?”  And allows us to have concrete numbers as to what we HAVE to bring home…(continues)

The Prepared Homestead: Coronavirus – Six Actions You Should Be Taking Now

The Prepared Homestead has a video out talking about six steps that you should taking right now in regards to the pandemic and resultant/simultaneous supply chain/economic problems. He covers (1) sizing up the situation, (2) scenario development – best, most likely, worst case, (3) taking stock of your financial situation, (4) topping off supplies, (5) growing some of your own food, (6) working on your health. Much of one and two will be familiar to you if you’ve taken or read Forward Observer‘s SHTF Intelligence or Area Study book/classes.

Tri-Cities Potato and Onion Giveaway, May 1st

From KNDU news:

As local farmers are seeing an abundance of crops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to give away some to the community.

Farmers are told to keep their crops as trading with other countries has somewhat stopped as COVID-19 fears mount.

The Tri-Cities farming community will come together Friday, May 1st for a potato and onion giveaway for those who need food assistance.

The owners of AgriNorthwest and Rover Point Farms have teamed up with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to host multiple potato and onion drive-thru giveaways for free.

They are located at the following locations:

2004 N. 24th Ave, Pasco

820 S. Buntin, Kennewick

5885 Holly Way, West Richland

Volunteers will open these locations at noon and will remain open until supplies last.

For more information you can reach out to justservetc@gmail.com.

Zero Hedge: It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread

Zero Hedge has an article on the growing seed shortage as Americans turn to growing their own food in response to supply chain problems – It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread As Locked-Down Americans Turn To Growing Their Own Food 

…Americans started buying 3M N95 masks in mid-January, then non-perishables in February, followed by toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and guns.

Now apparently, plant seeds are the next big thing…

Seed companies who spoke with CBS News said they have stopped taking new orders after unprecedented demand. George Ball, chairman of Pennsylvania-based Burpee Seeds, said the recent increase in new orders is “just unbelievable.” The company will start accepting orders again on Wednesday after it stopped taking new ones for several days to catch up on the backlog.

Americans in quarantine are becoming increasingly concerned about their food security. What has shocked many is that food on supermarket shelves that existed one day, could be completely wiped out in minutes via panic hoarding. Some people are now trying to restore the comfort of food security by planting “Pandemic Gardens.”

“If I had to put my thumb on it, I would say people are worried about their food security right now,” said Emily Rose Haga, the executive director of the Seed Savers Exchange, an Iowa-based nonprofit devoted to heirloom seeds.

 “A lot of folks even in our region are putting orders into their grocery stores and having to wait a week to get their groceries. Our society has never experienced a disruption like this in our lifetime.”

One of the most significant trends besides a crashed economy and high unemployment is that tens of thousands of Americans, mainly of the working poor, who just lost their jobs, are ending up at food banks. These facilities have reported surging demand, as a hunger crisis unfolds.

Today’s economic, health, and social crisis has made people realize that relying on supermarkets for food is not a safe bet. Some are now reverting to the land for survival.

Seed Savers Exchange noticed a surge in seed demand started in mid-March, the same time lockdowns across the country went into effect. The nonprofit has also halted new orders to catch up on the backlog.

“We received twice the amount of orders we normally receive,” the company said, adding it has had to hire more staff to deal with rising seed demand.

With America at war with coronavirus, the “Victory Gardens” our ancestors planted in WWI & II have now morphed into Pandemic Gardens. The surge in seed demand suggests a new trend of the 2020s is developing, one where reliance on corporations and government for survival are coming to an end for some people, as rural communities and living off the land is the safest bet in times of crisis…

Medium: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

Will Oremus has written an article at Medium.com on What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage, pointing out that it has little to do with so-called hoarding. The fact is that people actually are using more toilet paper at home. There are similar problems with dairy products. With everyone staying at home and mostly eating at home, consumption of milk, butter, eggs, etc. is higher at home, now.

round the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. There have been shortages in Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers.

Well, not so fast.

Story after story explains the toilet paper outages as a sort of fluke of consumer irrationality. Unlike hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or hospital ventilators, they note, toilet paper serves no special function in a pandemic. Toilet paper manufacturers are cranking out the same supply as always. And it’s not like people are using the bathroom more often, right?

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar summed up the paradox in a March 13 New York Times story: “Toilet paper is not an effective way to prevent getting the coronavirus, but they’re selling out.” The president of a paper manufacturer offered the consensus explanation: “You are not using more of it. You are just filling up your closet with it.”

Faced with this mystifying phenomenon, media outlets have turned to psychologists to explain why people are cramming their shelves with a household good that has nothing to do with the pandemic. Read the coverage and you’ll encounter all sorts of fascinating concepts, from “zero risk bias” to “anticipatory anxiety.” It’s “driven by fear” and a “herd mentality,” the BBC scolded. The libertarian Mises Institute took the opportunity to blame anti-gouging laws. The Atlantic published a short documentary harking back to the great toilet paper scare of 1973, which was driven by misinformation.

Most outlets agreed that the spike in demand would be short-lived, subsiding as soon as the hoarders were satiated.

No doubt there’s been some panic-buying, particularly once photos of empty store shelves began circulating on social media. There have also been a handful of documented cases of true hoarding. But you don’t need to assume that most consumers are greedy or irrational to understand how coronavirus would spur a surge in demand. And you can stop wondering where in the world people are storing all that Quilted Northern.

There’s another, entirely logical explanation for why stores have run out of toilet paper — one that has gone oddly overlooked in the vast majority of media coverage. It has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with supply chains. It helps to explain why stores are still having trouble keeping it in stock, weeks after they started limiting how many a customer could purchase.

In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.

Georgia-Pacific, a leading toilet paper manufacturer based in Atlanta, estimates that the average household will use 40% more toilet paper than usual if all of its members are staying home around the clock…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Medium.com

Here is a video of a dairy farmer of Wagner Farms, talking about dairy item shortages and supply chains.

Reuters: U.S. Dairy Farmers Dump Milk as Pandemic Upends Food Markets

From Reuters news service comes a story that hits our region with a good number of dairies, U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets

Dairy farmer Jason Leedle felt his stomach churn when he got the call on Tuesday evening.

“We need you to start dumping your milk,” said his contact from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest U.S. dairy cooperative.

Despite strong demand for basic foods like dairy products amid the coronavirus pandemic, the milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market.

Mass closures of restaurants and schools have forced a sudden shift from those wholesale food-service markets to retail grocery stores, creating logistical and packaging nightmares for plants processing milk, butter and cheese. Trucking companies that haul dairy products are scrambling to get enough drivers as some who fear the virus have stopped working. And sales to major dairy export markets have dried up as the food-service sector largely shuts down globally.

The dairy industry’s woes signal broader problems in the global food supply chain, according to farmers, agricultural economists and food distributors. The dairy business got hit harder and earlier than other agricultural commodities because the products are highly perishable – milk can’t be frozen, like meat, or stuck in a silo, like grain.

Other food sectors, however, are also seeing disruptions worldwide as travel restrictions are limiting the workforce needed to plant, harvest and distribute fruits and vegetables, and a shortage of refrigerated containers and truck drivers have slowed the shipment of staples such as meat and grains in some places…

Click here to read the entire story at Reuters.