LOGAN – Some larger grocers across Cache Valley have empty shelves and grumpy customers because of binge buyers. Grocers have gone to special hours for seniors and limiting items to ensure there is something for everyone.
Matt Lunt, owner of the Island Market in Logan, said he put a limit of two on groceries early on.
“We have had a busy couple of weeks, but I think it is starting to stabilize,” he said. “We built a pyramid with rolls of toilet paper in our window to let people know all is not lost, there is still some available.”
Dave Davis the president of the Utah Food Association and Utah Retail Association and said people need to relax. There is plenty of food in the system, they don’t need to over buy.
His organization is responsible of the food supply chain and there is plenty to go around.
He urged consumers to shop responsibly during this the coronavirus (COVID-19) event, which is impacting retailers, their customers and employees nationwide.
“Right now, Utah is number one in panic buying in the U.S,” Davis said. “KSL did an interesting report. They looked at the number of groceries bought a year ago and measured it against what was purchased last week.”
He said Utahns bought 261 percent more than they did last year.
“That was number one in the country. Maryland was number two at 124 percent and Montana was third with 101 percent,” Davis said. “The good news is we have producers growing their goods, warehouses and retailers with plenty of food.”
The national news has spotlighted binge buying as an issue across the country.
He said the retail industry is in good shape when we have that many people buying things that retailers weren’t planning on selling. It leaves the shelves empty.
“We are in good shape,” Davis said. “If you don’t need the item in the next two weeks, don’t buy it now.”
He said now is not the appropriate time to get a year’s worth of food storage.
“We unwittingly put other people at risk if they are buying things that other people might need,” he said. “People need to be rethinking their purchases.”
Davis said you can show you care if we you are not trying to stock up and get your year supply in one week.
That is what’s happening in the country; people are buying too much food and other products.
“We have not seen anything like this before,” he said. “In the state of Utah, trucking is a major concern, but the feds have relaxed the hours truckers can drive.”
Davis’ organization’s members operate grocery, pharmacy, home improvement and convenience stores throughout the state.