'We're way more rational': Expert believes second coronavirus wave won't induce panic buying
TORONTO -- An expert in the Canadian food industry doesn’t believe a potential second wave of COVID-19 will induce the kind of panic buying that previously left grocery store shelves bare.
Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, believes Canadians and food manufacturers are more knowledgeable about the virus and more prepared this time around to ensure grocery stores will be properly stocked.
“Six months into the pandemic, we’re way more rational,” he told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “We know more about virus. We know how public health officials are going to be dealing with this virus.”
“There are more certainties know and I think it has helped a lot of Canadians to calm down, so that’s why there’s more discipline in the market right now.”
During the spring, panic buying at grocery stores led most notably to the shortage of toilet paper, but also led to stores running low on dry pasta, flour, canned foods and other items.
“When you think about it, it wasn’t really too surprising because when we visited the grocery store in March and April, we didn’t know if we were going to be allowed to go back,” Charlebois said.
Charlebois added that the closure of restaurants also impacted the products on grocery store shelves as virtually all at once, Canadians began relying almost exclusively on the groceries for their meals.
In the event of a second wave, however, Charlebois said the grocery stores and food manufacturers will be ready.
“For months now, the food industry has been preparing for a potential second wave, so they’re even more prepared than for the first wave,” he said.
Charlebois also mentioned that several additional online grocery delivery services have emerged during the pandemic, which will help ease some of the panic-induced buying.
“No matter where you live in Canada, you are likely in a market where you can get your groceries delivered within two hours,” he said. “That’s reassuring if you’re stuck at home.”
In June, Sobeys launched its own online grocery delivery service, while Costco and Uber Eats launched similar services last month.