Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2020

Stockpiling meaning: What is stockpiling? Why are people stockpiling food?


The coronavirus outbreak, which has been branded a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has seen people around the globe frightened they will not be able to get a hold of key household items. But as people stockpile hand sanitiser, toilet roll and pasta, among other things, the supermarkets are asking people to think of others.

In the UK, supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Tesco, Aldi, Waitrose, M&S, Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Costcutter and the Co-Op have released a joint statement to stop people panic buying.

The stores wrote an open letter to their customers, saying they are doing “everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.”

They added: “Those of us with online delivery and click-and-collect services are running them at full capacity to help you get the products you need when you need them.

“We thank all our colleagues in stores and supply chains who are working day and night to keep the nation fed. But we need your help too.”

READ MORE: How much food do you need to stock up on for two week isolation? 

What is stockpiling? Why are people stockpiling food?

To stockpile is to accumulate a large stock of goods or materials.

This in order to have these goods available in the future if the need for it increases.

Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium said: “Our members continue to work round-the-clock to ensure consumers have access to the products they need.

“Retailers are putting in place the measures necessary to meet the current increase in demand.

“Where people are self-isolating it is not just up to supermarkets, but also friends and neighbours to support them in getting the goods they need.

“This is a time for everyone to come together and support one another, particularly those who are vulnerable.”

In the UK, people have been stockpiling in case they are told to self-isolate to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Items such as hand sanitiser, pasta and toilet roll have been hard to get a hold off for days.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned against stockpiling, urging people to “behave responsibly and think about others” when purchasing supplies.

He added the Government is “certainly confident that we have fantastic supply chains”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs food supplies will continue even in the “reasonable worst-case scenario”.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “We are confident that food supply will continue even in our reasonable worst-case scenario.

“We have been talking to the supermarkets for some time about this scenario.”



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