Shoppers finding empty shelves again, but grocers are prepared this time

A surge in COVID-19 numbers, holiday dinner shopping or a combination of both have left some shoppers searching for supplies.


Steve Jefferson, WTHR (IN)

November 16, 2020


INDIANAPOLIS — Central Indiana shoppers are seeing empty store shelves again, just like at the start of the pandemic.


The grocery chains believe it could be a combination on the rising COVID numbers and people preparing for holidays. But this time, they say they are supply-demand ready.


Some of the managers may not be able to pinpoint why people are emptying the shelves. This time it's not just paper products that customers are buying up. But this fall they are more prepared for what is happening at their stores.


Some grocery store customers are running into empty shelves even on less-popular products that were easy to get earlier in the year, but not now. The demand back in the spring left the supply on toilet paper and other paper products scarce nationwide.


Amanda Anspach and her fiancé started ordering items in bulk online to avoid the crowded stores and possibility of finding the shelves completely empty. She worked out a way to remain stress-free when it comes to grocery shopping and so far it's worked.


But even that has had its challenges.


"I just try to get a little here and there," Anspach said. "That way, we are not stressing out."


Anspach also orders online when she can. The only challenges there were having their items delayed due to backlogged stock orders.


But shopping for the Thanksgiving holiday hasn't been easy so far. Amanda wanted to get her main Thanksgiving dinner items early this year. She has already noticed a huge difference in the products available that people like her usually buy for the holiday.


"It's already getting halfway bad. The turkeys, when they first came out, they were full price and halfway gone when I went to get one."


"We learned a lot about our supply and demand last May and April during the start of the pandemic," said Kroger spokesperson Eric Halverson. "The key is for us to make sure people don't panic and don't hoard. There is plenty of food in the supply chain."


Last spring, the pandemic rush taught Kroger managers other lessons, too. Not only is supply being monitored closely, but...