British shoppers’ incessant stockpiling habit is causing abnormal food and medicine shortages that threaten the well-being of the UK’s vulnerable citizens.
The UK is a nation in which nearly 12 million of the population are elderly citizens. The World Health Organization warns that those 65 years old and above as well as people with existing disorders like asthma, diabetes and heart problems, are deemed vulnerable to the harms caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why it is important for these groups of people to stay confined within their homes to avoid contracting the infectious disease.
Although those who are able, can go out occasionally to buy food and/or medicines and other basic household supplies, the Briton’s panic-buying behavior has made it impossible for them to do so. Nonprofit organisations and churches who have been working for the welfare and interest of these people finally raised concerns over the stockpiling habits of UK shoppers.
Even online stores can no longer provide for the elderly as supplies have already been booked several weeks in advance. NHS workers and those who can only afford the cheaper brands have been deprived of their choices. Apparently, hoarders who are fortunate to have greater buying power, have practically emptied the shelves, much to the detriment of buyers with limited resources.
UK’s Salvation Army leader Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, called on the government to urge major retailers to put in place a coordinated approach in order to normalise the buying behavior of UK shoppers.
“Measures are urgently needed in both urban and rural areas as a means to help older people and key workers obtain the grocery items they need in staying healthy.”
Why Stockpiling Causes Artificial Shortages of Supply
Many are not aware that manufacturers follow a system of basing production on the existing average demand. That way, the quantities stockpiled in warehouses and freezers will not over-exceed the demand, since excessive surpluses could only lead to wastage or spoilage.
Actually, large groups of the British population have been stockpiling since the early days of the No-Brexit Deal. Although manufacturers and producers tried their best to meet the increased demand so they can also increase quantities delivered to wholesalers and retailers, the Covid-19 outbreak had aggravated the situation.
Major outlets Asda, Tesco and Waitrose have responded to the appeal for order, by implementing rationing of essential items, as well as putting in place social distancing measures among the panic-buying consumers.
To help the NHS frontliners, older citizens and other vulnerable customers carry out their regular shopping, Sainsbury has set a schedule for them between 8 to 9 am during Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tesco followed suit by reserving Sundays as special store hours for NHS employees and other vulnerable members of communities.
Morrisons on the other hand, took to taking on help offered by 500 charity shop workers to assist vulnerable shoppers.
Iceland has made online orders exclusive to state pensioners, to people placed in self-isolation, and vulnerable people including the disabled.
However, Age UK continues to worry because despite the changes implemented by supermarkets, the stockpiling behavior is still prevalent among UK consumers.