Iceland’s managing director has said panic buying is finally starting to ease off in his supermarkets because young people have realised ‘they only need so much loo roll in their lives’.
Managing director Richard Walker said he is ‘pleased to report’ people are no longer stockpiling in such great numbers.
He believes it is partially down to a ‘growing public awareness’ and Iceland ‘beefing up’ its supply chains, but also because the fit and healthy have realised they only need a certain amount of bathroom supplies.
Toilet paper was one of the first products to disappear from supermarket shelves up and down the country more than a week before the Prime Minister put the UK on lockdown.
Managing director Richard Walker (pictured) said he is ‘pleased to report’ people are no longer stockpiling in such great numbers
He believes it is partially down to a ‘growing public awareness’ and Iceland ‘beefing up’ its supply chains, but also because the fit and healthy have realised they only need a certain amount of toilet paper
Mr Walker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I totally understand why people are fearful, but stockpiling is inherently socially divisive because it’s not an option for those who can’t afford it, but also by stripping the shelves and not shopping responsibly it means that others go without.
‘Panic buying and stockpiling is unnecessary because production has not dried up.
‘The current shortages will largely be resolved when people revert to their normal shopping habits and only buy what they actually need, which I am pleased to report is starting to happen.
‘I think that’s down to a growing awareness from the public and because we have beef up our supply chains.
‘But it’s probably a realization by people that they only need so much loo roll in their life.’
Mr Walker also directly contradicted Boris Johnson’s Monday lockdown speech, urging young people not to use online food delivery services.
He said: ‘I would urge the opposite of the PM if you are healthy, not in a vulnerable category.
‘Please do shop in store but make sure you shop responsibly – adhere to social distancing, don’t panic buy – that will enhance priority online for those that need it most.’
Toilet paper was one of the first products to disappear from supermarket shelves up and down the country more than a week before the Prime Minister put the UK on lockdown
The Iceland boss claimed he has not been able to purchase enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for his frontline staff.
He added: ‘We’ve ordered hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves but they’re taking far too long to arrive, we don’t have enough to provide them for customer use.’
Mr Walker revealed he has 1million pairs of gloves arriving for staff tomorrow but an order of facemasks that was placed weeks ago is still not due to arrive until the middle of next week.
He added: ‘It’s all well and good for the Government to lay down the law on protecting customers, but it would really help if they could give us more practical support by giving us the PPE we desperately want.’
Iceland, like many other supermarkets, is now using age verification to prioritise older, vulnerable and self-isolating customers.
Tesco have begun limiting their online supermarket delivery baskets to 80 items to stop people buying huge amounts.