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Panic buying - I’m not buying it! Panic buying - I’m not buying it!
Panic buying - I’m not buying it!

I have spent more than 20 years in the fresh produce industry and I have never seen anything like this - images of shoppers queuing around the block to shop in supermarkets that seem to be full of nearly empty shelves.


Panic buying is a very difficult and complicated thing and it creates its own momentum.


Once there is a merest whiff of people panic buying and the sight of empty shelves, it creates more fear and more knee-jerk buying, leaving lots of people who had no intention of stockpiling feeling that they might lose out if they don't join in..


Then it becomes its own self fulfilling prophecy. The cycle continues.


It is exacerbated by the supermarkets who feel they have no choice but to start limiting purchases, initially done to try and solve the problem, but actually giving further credibility to the fact that there isn’t enough to go around.


'We are being deprived … ' There is a shortage... I knew it,' 'Aahhhhh....!' 'Buy, buy buy, that last packet of whatever is left on the shelves!' and on and on it goes.


So what I don't get is why this sudden lack of confidence in a system that has worked almost faultlessly over the last 20, 30, 40 years??? A system that never lets shoppers down? In this country, we can buy pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want it.


Knowing the fruit and veg business and the food business and so many retailers as well as I do,  I have every faith that the free market will always find a way to get goods to people with the money to pay for them.


As of today, 23rd March, there has been an increase of 50% on our weekly food shop compared to last month, which equates to an extra £1 billion with of food currently in our houses.


Now I am not blaming those who have done it, as fear is fear (whether it is rational or not) and the fear of not being able to feed yourselves or your family is something that luckily many of us have never had to face.


But let's all try and relax. There are no food shortages. There doesn’t look like there is any reason why there would be. All we are seeing here is a difficulty for shop staff (whose work-load has just gone off the scale) to fill the shelves as quickly as they are being emptied.


After all this blows over, let's make the most of this experience and become more grateful for things we have taken for granted - a wide variety of great quality food whenever we want it. Maybe the simple act of going into a fully stocked shop to buy cheap safe food isn’t something to be taken for granted...


(I just hope people have got plenty of freezer space, because if any food ends up in the bin when lots are having to go without, that would be nothing short of criminal.)

TV Presenter: Eat Well for Less, Best Home Cook and Food Truth or Scare. Author of Fakeaway, Good Food Sorted.

Panic buying - I’m not buying it!
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I have spent more than 20 years in the fresh produce industry and I have never seen anything like this - images of shoppers queuing around the block to shop in supermarkets that seem to be full of nearly empty shelves.


Panic buying is a very difficult and complicated thing and it creates its own momentum.


Once there is a merest whiff of people panic buying and the sight of empty shelves, it creates more fear and more knee-jerk buying, leaving lots of people who had no intention of stockpiling feeling that they might lose out if they don't join in..


Then it becomes its own self fulfilling prophecy. The cycle continues.


It is exacerbated by the supermarkets who feel they have no choice but to start limiting purchases, initially done to try and solve the problem, but actually giving further credibility to the fact that there isn’t enough to go around.


'We are being deprived … ' There is a shortage... I knew it,' 'Aahhhhh....!' 'Buy, buy buy, that last packet of whatever is left on the shelves!' and on and on it goes.


So what I don't get is why this sudden lack of confidence in a system that has worked almost faultlessly over the last 20, 30, 40 years??? A system that never lets shoppers down? In this country, we can buy pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want it.


Knowing the fruit and veg business and the food business and so many retailers as well as I do,  I have every faith that the free market will always find a way to get goods to people with the money to pay for them.


As of today, 23rd March, there has been an increase of 50% on our weekly food shop compared to last month, which equates to an extra £1 billion with of food currently in our houses.


Now I am not blaming those who have done it, as fear is fear (whether it is rational or not) and the fear of not being able to feed yourselves or your family is something that luckily many of us have never had to face.


But let's all try and relax. There are no food shortages. There doesn’t look like there is any reason why there would be. All we are seeing here is a difficulty for shop staff (whose work-load has just gone off the scale) to fill the shelves as quickly as they are being emptied.


After all this blows over, let's make the most of this experience and become more grateful for things we have taken for granted - a wide variety of great quality food whenever we want it. Maybe the simple act of going into a fully stocked shop to buy cheap safe food isn’t something to be taken for granted...


(I just hope people have got plenty of freezer space, because if any food ends up in the bin when lots are having to go without, that would be nothing short of criminal.)

TV Presenter: Eat Well for Less, Best Home Cook and Food Truth or Scare. Author of Fakeaway, Good Food Sorted.

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