The Woolworths and Coles supermarkets have introduced purchase restrictions on certain items to improve the availability of essential groceries and groceries in their Victorian stores.
Woolworths has reinstated a purchase limit of two items for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, minced meat, long-life milk, eggs and rice in its Victorian stores.
The preventive move is a response to the significant increase in demand in certain parts of Melbourne. It will support social distancing in stores and ensure that more customers have access to the products they need.
Claire Peters, general manager of Woolworths Supermarkets, said: “We know that many Victorians are concerned about the recent outbreak of the community, but they can be sure that our stores will remain open in our warehouses to replenish our shelves.
"Although we have healthy inventory, we take this precaution to prevent over-buying and to support reasonable social detachment in our Victorian stores."
“We have more than enough products for all of our customers if we all buy only what we need in our weekly shop.
"We will be monitoring demand across Victoria closely in the coming days and will try to remove the borders as soon as possible."
The reintroduction of restrictions on selected categories only applies in Victoria, where the first signs of a surge in demand appear, which also applies to online orders. According to the retailer, there are currently no product restrictions outside of Victoria.
Woolworths has a number of social distancing and security measures across Victoria. The greetings from the shops regularly wipe the wagons. The shopkeepers monitor the social distancing at the checkouts, security personnel and hand disinfection stations in every store.
Coles has also taken a number of temporary measures to improve the availability of essential groceries and groceries in its Victorian supermarkets and to help customers shop safely.
In all Victorian supermarkets, Coles team members greet customers at the entrance to remind them to use the hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for trolleys before entering.
Steven Cain, CEO of Coles Group, said customer and team member health and safety remains a top priority for Coles.
"After talking to the federal government, the Victorian government, and other retailers, Coles is introducing temporary purchasing restrictions on our Victorian supermarkets to control demand for essential staples," he said.
"We ask customers to continue shopping normally so that everyone has access to the food they need."
The following purchasing restrictions now apply in all Coles supermarkets in Victoria and in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW *:
|Hand disinfectant||2nd||Minced meat||2nd|
|Paper towel||1||UHT milk||2nd|
* Coles supermarkets in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin NSW are replenished from Victorian distribution centers.
Mr. Cain said that members of the Coles team worked hard to create a safe shopping environment and keep the shelves in stock for customers.
"We ask customers to continue to treat our team with respect and understanding and to follow any inquiries or signs in the store to keep a safe distance," he said.
No need to panic: Australian Food and Grocery Council
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) assures Australians that more than enough food is being processed, as the increase in food and food product purchases in Victoria earlier this year looks similar to the experience of "panic buying".
Acting CEO Dr. Geoffrey Annison said that given the unfortunate number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, no one has to panic to buy groceries.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, and to date, AFGC has continued to work closely with food and food manufacturers and the government to ensure that supply chains are minimally disrupted and people don't have to panic to buy products.
“We are lucky in Australia because most of our food is grown and produced here. We produce enough food to feed 75 million people. This is enough to feed the entire population three times. We have a very safe, reliable and efficient food supply chain.
“Australian consumers can rely on important products and their favorite brands will continue to be available as the coronavirus gets going. The food, beverage and food sector is working hard to give Aussies access to everything they need, ”said Dr. Annison.
“We have a very strong, reliable and resilient food and beverage sector that has worked hard to make key products reach Australians across the country. We are proud of how responsive and agile the Australian food, beverage and food sector was during the COVID 19 crisis. We thank the companies, their employees and supply chains for keeping the shelves in stock for all Aussies, ”said Dr. Annison.
The $ 122.1 billion Australian food, beverage and food sector is the largest manufacturing sector and the backbone of regional Australia with 273,000 jobs.