Woolworths and Coles Supermarkets have implemented purchase limits on certain items to improve the availability of key food and grocery items in its Victorian stores.
Woolworths has reinstated a purchase limit of two items on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, long-life milk, eggs and rice across its Victorian stores.
The preventative move is in response to significantly elevated demand in certain parts of Melbourne. It will support social distancing in stores and ensure more customers have access to the products they need.
Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said: “We understand many Victorians are anxious about the recent community outbreak, but they can be assured our stores will remain open with plenty of stock in our warehouses to replenish our shelves.
“While we have healthy stock levels to draw on, we’re taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying and support appropriate social distancing in our Victorian stores.
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“We have more than enough product for all of our customers if we all just buy what we need in our weekly shop.
“We’ll closely monitor demand across Victoria in the coming days and look to wind back the limits as soon as we can.”
The re-introduction of limits on select categories only applies in Victoria where the early signs of a demand surge is occurring, which also applies to online orders. The retailer says there are no product limits in place outside of Victoria at this time.
Woolworths has a number of social distancing and safety measures in place across Victoria, with store greeters regularly wiping down trolleys, front of store hosts monitoring social distancing around checkouts, security guards and hand sanitiser stations in each store.
Coles has also implemented a number of temporary measures to improve the availability of key food and grocery items in its Victorian supermarkets and to help customers shop safely.
At all of its Victorian supermarkets, Coles team members are now greeting customers at the entrance to remind them to use the sanitising station, which includes hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes for trolleys, before they enter.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the health and safety of customers and team members remains Coles’ top priority.
“Following discussion with the Federal and Victorian governments as well as other retailers, Coles is implementing temporary purchase limits for our Victorian supermarkets to help us manage demand for key staple items,” he said.
“We ask that customers continue to shop normally so that everyone can have access to the food and groceries they need.”
The following purchase limits are now in place at all Coles supermarkets in Victoria, as well as Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW*:
|Paper towel||1||UHT milk||2|
*Coles supermarkets in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin NSW are replenished from its Victorian distribution centres.
Mr Cain said Coles team members were working hard to provide a safe shopping environment and keep shelves stocked for customers.
“We ask that customers continue to treat our team with respect and understanding and follow any requests or signs in store to keep a safe distance,” he said.
No need to panic: Australian Food and Grocery Council
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is reassuring Australians that there is more than enough food being processed, as an increase in the purchasing of food and grocery products in Victoria begins to look similar to the ‘panic buying’ experience earlier in the year.
Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison said that with the unfortunate number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, no one needs to panic buy food and grocery products.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and still today, AFGC has continued working closely with food and grocery manufacturers and government to ensure minimal disruption to supply chains and that there is no need for people to panic buy products.
“In Australia we are lucky because most of our food is grown and produced here. We produce enough food to feed 75 million people. That is enough to feed the entire population three times over. We have a very safe, reliable, and efficient food supply chain.
“Australian consumers can be confident essential products and their favourite brands will continue to be available as the coronavirus runs its course. The food, beverage and grocery sector is working hard to ensure Aussies can access everything they need,” Dr Annison said.
“We have a very strong, reliable and resilient Food and grocery sector that worked hard to make it possible for essential products to reach Australians right around the country. We are proud of how responsive and agile the Australian food, beverage and grocery sector has been during the COVID-19 crisis. We thank the companies, their staff and supply chains for keeping the shelves stocked for all Aussies,” Dr Annison said.
The $122.1 billion Australian food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector is the biggest manufacturing sector with 273,000 jobs and is a backbone to regional Australia.