With Hoarding on the Decline, Grocery Shelves Could Still Be Bare for Some Time

Apr 19, 2020

Credit Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association

An industry group says many grocery store shelves in Kentucky and nationwide could continue to look apocalyptic for a while. 

With fewer planes flying cargo, and freight restrictions at trade ports, the supply chain has been hindered by the global coronavirus pandemic.  However, some experts says bare shelves are mostly the result of changes in shopping habits.  With schools out and stay-at-home orders in place, consumers continue to make panic runs to grocery stores.

"Now that more people are cooking and eating at home, it’s taken some time to get products that would have gone to restaurants to get those diverted to grocery stores," said Steve McClain, Communications Director for the Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association.

Also, most stores don’t keep on hand more than a few weeks of groceries due to limited refrigeration.

Some market research firms say hoarding is beginning to decline, but it’s going to take grocery stores some time to catch up with demand.

In addition to scarcity of products, there have been price increases on some items, including eggs and meats.  McClain says grocery stores are trying to keep prices in line with what customers are used to paying, but wholesalers are working overtime to meet demand, with those costs being passed on to retailers.