Coronavirus

Grocers Struggle To Meet Panicked Demand In US, UK

US, Britain Grocers Struggle To Meet Demand

In the United States, demand for delivery services for groceries are so high that some customers are waiting seven days for orders that contain missing items, and servers for online services are crashing under heightened demand, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

“Just when we thought we were catching up, this overwhelmed the system again,” said Pradeep Elankumaran, founder of San Francisco Bay area delivery service Farmstead.

The average wait time currently for groceries is six days, he said, and orders have recently doubled. Many companies are scrambling to add staff or servers to handle all the web traffic.

Walmart has seen grocery delivery outages in places like Tennessee, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia, among other regions. Amazon Prime Now delivery has also been forced to curtail its service because of shortages on store shelves.

“The stores are empty,” one manager said.

A delivery service called Peapod saw its website crash as it tried to handle a surge in demand.

“We’re putting all of our people together to do everything we possibly can,” said Peapod President JJ Fleeman.

In Britain, the largest supermarkets in the region, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda, have all been forced to limit purchases of products like pasta, milk and toilet paper, according to a report by Reuters.

So far, supply chains that import foods and vegetables are holding steady. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people that panic buying was unnecessary, but many people did so anyway.

“It is relentless and demand is still rising,” said Morrisons CEO David Potts. The supermarket chain’s sales are up 15 percent year over year.

“Yesterday’s like-for-like (sales rise) was higher than Monday’s, Monday’s was higher than Friday’s, last week’s was higher than the week before,” said COO Trevor Strain.

Authorities say there is enough food, but the rate at which things are being sold is putting a strain on supply chains.

“We have enough food coming into the system, but are limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger number of customers,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe.

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