Forest and trees. I keep thinking that I’ve just missed them in the past trips to the very few stores I go to – Chlorox or Lysol wipes. First, it was toilet paper, then almost immediately after, paper towels, and then the disinfectant spray bottles.
Bread went out immediately, quickly followed by pasta and then soups. Meats have been touch and go and with the news of the giant meatpacking plants (primarily pork and then beef). Shutting down plants after the Chinese virus infected employees spiked those products (but with news that they are going back online this week or next, don’t panic).
For each, I’ve seen those products come back onto shelves of the grocery stores I frequent. Paper towels are back – have been able to purchase them the last three times I’ve shopped (TP wasn’t a problem for us even in the beginning). Saw Chlorox spray this last time. Bread is back, pasta and sauce are available, and soups are starting to show up again. I haven’t been shopping since the packing plant news showed so I can’t speak to that.
Disinfectant wipes – I’ve been a bit surprised that nothing, not even “house” brands, have shown back up as of yet. Where I would regularly go within a store, all I see is empty shelves still. I figured that by NOW some would have shown up even under restrictions (“1 per shopping experience, please”) set by stores (like to TP and some paper towels). Nada, nein, nothing. I came across this over at Hot Air that gives some background as to why. Spoiler: supply went up but demand SKYROCKETED and stayed at those levels (reformatted, emphasis mine):
The Wall Street Journal did a little sleuthing and discovered that producers are still making plenty of both. The demand, however, still overwhelms the supply:
Clorox Co. and Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC have seen sales of sanitizing wipes more than double in the past two months amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nielsen. But while makers of other hard-to-find staples are catching up with demand, the producers of Clorox, Lysol and private-label wipes are as far behind as ever. Clorox said it doesn’t expect to catch up until summer, while Reckitt Benckiser said it is unsure when supplies will replenish.
“We’re shipping canisters of wipes every day to our customers, and within 30-45 minutes they’re gone from shelves,” Clorox finance chief Kevin Jacobsen said in an interview. “Demand has outstripped what anybody could have imagined.”
Clorox has increased production of disinfectant products by 40%, but sales have stretched to five times the normal level at times during the spread of Covid-19, Mr. Jacobsen said. U.S. sales of disinfectant wipes were up 146% for the eight-week period ended March 25 compared with a year ago, according to Nielsen.
…In fact, Clorox tells Terlep that they are stopping production on non-disinfectant wipes and shifted those lines to producing the core product.
…Clorox says they will shortly expand into a new facility in Atlanta, as they expect demand to remain high even when shelves get fully restocked. Lysol also says they’re working on ramping up production, but both companies say it might take a few more months before they can meet the demand pace.
Five times normal demand – not easy to meet as we’re seeing. If this demand keeps up, as the post alludes to that it will for this product category due to a “new normal”, it will bring more suppliers and supplies online. After all, prices have probably risen (at least some) and that is the signal that profits can be made for more efficient producers. True, too, this is the time for someone to build that proverbial better mousetrap in their garage or corporate lab that will do the job better, faster, cheaper, or more conveniently that will totally disrupt the marketplace.
Only time will tell and if Govt stays the heck out of the way.
Addendum: With TMEW still recovering, I get to do almost all the house cleaning. You know, I will be happy to see this all pass us by; I’m tired of smelling bleach on my hands all the time…