LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) – One of the biggest impacts on everyone due to the coronavirus has been at the grocery store, where some shelves were emptied by anxious shoppers.
Now Kansas City area stores and their suppliers are working to keep up with the demand. Associated Wholesale Grocers, based out of Kansas City, Kansas, is one of the top grocery store suppliers in the nation, and CEO David Smith was very frank about the demand for products the company faces.
Smith explained that shoppers buying out of an abundance of caution is something they see every year around this time.
“This is just like a snow storm or an ice storm. It’s just longer,” he explained.
Associated Wholesale Grocers provides products to 400 local stores, and despite the surge in demand, Smith assured KCTV5 News that there is NOT and there will NOT be a shortage of food.
“The supply chain is catching up and rebuilding,” he said. “While not all of the variety may be available to you on any given day, over 70 to 80 percent of the products are there. It may not be the exact brand or size.”
Shoppers are already encountering less variety in metro stores.
“I wanted to get some rice and the rice I wanted wasn’t there, so now I’m going to have to drive and get the rice I want,” Hy-vee shopper Warren Kelly. “I’m glad I came back because yesterday there was no toilet paper. Today there was a line and he was handing it out as you were waiting. There’s still some left, but not much.”
Cleaning products and toilet paper are a little different. Normally people are not buying wipes and paper products at the rates they are right now, and the manufacturers are working to catch up to demand.
“The supply chain works. If they don’t have it today, they’ll have it tomorrow,” Smith said. “But probably in the immediate future there may not be enough to have 100 percent to go around for everyone.”
Smith’s advice for shoppers is to have what they need for two weeks, just as a backup. Anything beyond that is taking away from others in the community.