PHOTO: In response to the pandemic, Americans have been storing up dry goods.
By Clara Ault,
Throughout the last two months, pictures of almost post-apocalyptic empty grocery shelves have circled the internet, and toilet paper memes have taken over Twitter. Panic buying, stockpiling on food or other resources in fear of shortages or price increases, has become common practice.
The research firm Nielsen found demands skyrocketing for items like rice, which is up 50 percent, dried beans, up almost 50 percent, and oat milk, up a little under 40 percent.
Although there is enough food in America, the country just isn’t ready to meet all of these demands at once.
Currently, the CDC recommends that Americans buy up to two weeks of food at a time. Any more, and the food will likely get wasted and thrown away.
Not only is buying an abundance of perishable food wasteful, panic buying puts those living paycheck to paycheck at a disadvantage. These workers don’t have the privilege to buy food for weeks or months in advance, and when they do go to the store it’s important that they’re able to find what they need.
Food manufacturers have enough food– they just don’t have enough to accommodate for the influx of purchasing. If everyone bought enough food for two weeks, the shelves would be replenished.
Right now the food industry is having to rework all the food that was previously going to restaurants and is now needing to go to grocery stores.
At the moment they haven’t figured out a perfect solution, as no one was prepared for the effects coronavirus (COVID-19) would have, but once that is solved, food supplies should be more than enough.
The problem isn’t the amount of food, it’s the overbuying. When visiting the grocery store, think to yourself: Do I really need this now, or is someone else going to need my seventh box of spaghetti?
For now, try getting creative with what’s already in the pantry. There’s always that thing that’s been in the freezer for as long as you can remember, and this is the perfect time to try it out.