Where has all the loo roll gone? Across the world, people are stockpiling toilet paper, dried pasta, canned goods, hand sanitiser, and other products. Supermarkets and suppliers are doing everything they can to ensure that shelves remain well-stocked. Can retailers meet the increased demand? How should we behave?

To be clear, there is enough food. In Europe, food producers and distributors are raising questions about border closures and labour shortages potentially disrupting supply chains over the long-term, but there is more than enough food for everyone (and definitely enough toilet paper). So, official advice is for everyone to stop “hamster buying” (and for EU governments to stop closing borders).

Should we stockpile anything? According to most disaster relief agencies, it is a good idea to have a small supply of food and medicine at home, ideally for two weeks (for example, in case you need to self-isolate). Toilet paper is not mentioned anywhere in official advice. However, if too many people stock up beyond their daily needs, we may end up creating entirely unnecessary supply shortages ourselves. Images of empty shelves being shared on social media certainly aren’t calming people down and making the situation any better.

There will be no serious and sustained food supply disruption in Europe. There are logistical hurdles to overcome, which may conceivably lead to temporary shortages of some items. However, governments and supermarkets have emergency plans in place for pandemics. At worst, suppliers will prioritise basic staples, meaning we may see less variety on the shelves. All governments are aware that keeping people fed is a key priority during the crisis.

Can supermarkets cope with panic buying? Why are so many people stockpiling toilet paper? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: Unsplash (cc) Mick Haupt

5 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Supermarkets should not exist în The first place.

  2. avatar

    Miny markets are plenty and have all essential goods.No need for queues at super markets

  3. avatar
    EU Reform-Proactive

    Sorry, but I politely refuse to answer “toilet-related” questions!

    Do we stand by & allow the debate getting more ridiculous by the day, while the corona crises expose the weaknesses and strength of the EU concept and its national & supranational leadership?

    How do the West’s politicians (incl. EU), watch the “collapsing” of their economies and then turn around and say to their electorate:
    “Sorry, chaps, we were caught with our pants down.” “All gone done the toilets drain”!


    In disastrous times like these, Citizens are looking for guidance and practical leadership! Anything to do with the economy is an exclusive competence of the EU. Please show it!
    A reminder of the EU structure & competences:


  4. avatar

    Hong Kong’s panic buying stopped once mainland China had announced unlimited supply of commodities including mask. Panic buying is just an irrational reaction, needs government authority’s assurance.

  5. avatar

    China is able to avoid serious panic buying, it appears that the Central Government has opened something called “green passage”, probably for food and medical equipment to Wuhan, and probably other risking provinces or cities. China has mobilized community self-assistance teams and couriers who can even do the direct purchase according to customers request…When people know that new arrangements are available, panic would be reduced. Of course, details have to be obtained from the mainland people…

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.