- Some grocers are starting to compile "pandemic pallets" as they prepare for another possible surge in cases during the winter, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
- Some pallets are reportedly focused on food, while others are for cleaning supplies and other goods to keep buyers healthy.
- While food shortages aren't as common as they were earlier this year, grocery stores could still see some limited variety.
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While the fall season started just last week, grocery stores are already preparing for winter.
"Pandemic Pallets" are gaining more traction, with grocers preparing for worst and stocking the wooden storage structures with items that could be in high demand around Thanksgiving, and even Christmas, according to the Wall Street Journal. The goods being stockpiled on the pallets range from cleaning supplies to dry goods, the report said.
While the pallets vary in nature, their overall purpose remains the same: ensuring grocery stores will be able to handle demand if shoppers begin to "panic buy" as they did in March if COVID-19 cases spike in the winter. In the past week, coronavirus cases have risen in 21 states, as reported by CNN. In countries abroad, a second wave of infections has led to the return of lockdown orders.
Southeastern Grocers LLC, parent company for Winn-Dixie and other grocery chains, already added both turkey and ham to their inventory for the holidays, according to The Journal — months before the stores normally plan for the holiday-buying season.
While some grocers are looking ahead in the demand for food, others are focused on cleaning supplies and other items shoppers may need in order to stay healthy, according to the report.
Associated Food Stores, a cooperative for independently-owned grocery stores in the US, has placed their focus on "cleaning and sanitizing products," The Wall Street Journal said.
"We will never again operate our business as unprepared for something like this," said Darin Peirce, vice president of operations, told the publication.
Before the pandemic, grocery stores operated in a way in which stores only stayed stocked for weeks ahead, not months. Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the US, was only keeping four to six weeks' worth of inventory before the virus took hold in March, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While grocers are preparing for increased demand, suppliers are trying to keep up as well.
Although grocery stores aren't as sparse as the beginning of the pandemic, shortages will still be around. In some cases, stores have turned to other suppliers to meet demand, which is why some of the toilet paper found on shelves today is from Mexico. Meat suppliers have been hit especially hard by the pandemic due to outbreaks at packaging plants, as previously reported by Business Insider.
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