Food rationing could be implemented if we keep panic buying

With food in such short supply, experts say it's only a matter of time...

30w ago

8.2K

If you're not guilty of panic buying at the supermarket, you will probably have witnessed someone who is. That person who thinks it's ok to buy 15kg of pasta for the three people in the house, or 20 rolls of toilet paper (where are people keeping this stuff?!).

The first mutterings of lockdown or quarantine got everyone a little shooketh, and since then, supermarkets have faced unprecedented demand for just about everything. There have been arguments and even fights in the aisles over items, and more and more people are leaving stores empty handed, having failed to find what they were looking for.

Limits imposed on certain items to try and keep the shelves stocked have been greeted with relief by some, but abuse of staff by others. It's not ok.

Shoppers crowd outside the supermarket, awaiting opening.

Shoppers crowd outside the supermarket, awaiting opening.

Associate professor of history and politics at Liverpool Hope University, Bryce Evans, has compared this to the surge in demand for groceries seen during both the first and second world wars. He says that, although we are not yet in a crisis when it comes to food volumes, that is where we are heading if we can't be more sensible.

Sadly, he is all too aware of how unlikely it is that that public will have more restraint, voluntarily. A government spokesperson recently said, "We will do whatever it takes to ensure people have the food and supplies they need. Retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need." Professor Evans claims that history shows this just doesn't work.

He said ‘There needs to be a big shift in current consumption behaviours, because it’s a matter of weeks before things start to become a real problem if we continue in the same vein. I can see rationing on the horizon. Both wars show us that what the government is doing right now – telling people not to panic buy, to voluntarily curtail consumption – just doesn’t work, sadly."

His suggestion is to follow up the guidance with a government led rationing system, much like was seen during the war. To bring it up to date and make it as easy as possible for everyone, he suggests this could be implemented online, which would prevent hundreds of people flooding the supermarket at opening time and risking further spread of the virus.

Instead, he suggests that companies like UberEats and Deliveroo could be used to distribute goods purchased online using ration vouchers.

Do you think rationing would be a good idea?

Join In

Comments (16)

  • This is why we can't have nice things.

      7 months ago
  • I think the supermarkets need to do more to stop people by limiting the items that they are buying. People are probably buying stuff they don’t need and my fear is the amount of food that will end up in the bin

      6 months ago
    • Many shops have done that - in Australia, for instance, a lot of things are restricted in all the shops. I don't know how, but we're still out of things.

        6 months ago
    • I went shopping yesterday and they are limiting 1 pack of 4 toilet rolls per customer, think some may have to resort to what happened during WW2 of cutting the newspaper into squares and punching a hole in them and threading them with string.

        6 months ago
  • I think it is a good idea. We try to always have a stocked freezer and pantry.

      7 months ago
  • I meant rubbing alcohol though. They already implemented a alcohol ban so supermarkets can't sell booze. I'm from the Philippines.

      6 months ago
    • Ahh I’ve got you. Yeah rubbing alcohol was the first thing to go here. I’m lucky to work in a lab who can make myself. I hope you’re well and keeping safe

        6 months ago
  • Yes. It is already being implemented in my country.

      6 months ago
    • Wow, really? How is it going?

        6 months ago
    • It's working quite well. So far, there is enough supply for everyone except maybe for alcohol which got hoarded before they decided to limit the purchase.

        6 months ago
Loading...
Loading...
16