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Atlanta Grocery Stores: Plenty Of Food, But Where Is The Toilet Paper?

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Ask most grocery store managers or employees, and they'll tell you they're stocking the shelves as fast as they can. But when you look around, most would agree you see empty shelves, particularly where the paper goods, disinfectant spray and wipes and hand sanitizer would normally be.

Management at several grocery store chains have said there's actually no shortage of food though.

Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager Felix Turner told CW69 in an email:

"The supply chain is strong and has not been interrupted. We want to emphasize that customers should not panic – and only purchase the items they need. Our associates, management team and suppliers are working hard to replenish shelves as quickly as possible to ensure that the food, medicine and cleaning supplies are reaching our stores as quickly as possible and are available to meet increased demand through our pickup, delivery and ship services."

Publix Super Markets, Inc. Media Relations Manager Nicole Maristany Krauss said, "Our teams are diligently focused on restocking shelves, conducting preventative cleaning measures and taking care of our associates, customers, communities and each other."

Kroger and Publix management said they were forced to put limits on certain items, in terms of the quantities you can buy.

"Kroger took the precautionary step on March 2 to limit the number of cold, flu and sanitary products per order so everyone can have access to the items they need," Turner said.

"We are reserving the right to limit quantities by store location to help meet the needs of the greater community," said Krauss.

Publix officials have said stockpiling is contributing to the problem, and they are urging customers to shop as they normally would as part of the solution.

"Being a grocery in the Southeast, we are well-equipped to handle disruptions to our business. However, in this scenario, we are asking for the help of our customers and encourage them not to stockpile. The grocery industry is resilient. We need to provide an opportunity for the supplies to get back into the pipeline and see normal shopping activity," Krauss said.

Even with the daily deliveries they said they're getting, Kroger officials said keeping certain items on shelves is an ongoing challenge. But they they said manufacturers are making changes to try to keep up.

"Some vendors, like those making hand sanitizers, are still struggling to meet the increased demand. Packaged goods companies such as Procter & Gamble are narrowing their production to focus on in-demand products, such as toilet paper. In fact, our warehouses are currently shipping extra toilet paper," said Turner

In the meantime, Turner said the best way to go about getting the items that are quickly disappearing from shelves for the foreseeable future, is by monitoring each store's delivery schedule.

"We encourage customers to contact their nearby Kroger store to check on availability and delivery schedules. They will know best based on their individual store delivery schedule. You may see product not on the shelves now but know we are working to get product into our distribution center and out to our stores," said Turner.

Turner referenced other measures Kroger is taking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Additionally, to help address the gap in funding to combat food insecurity nationwide, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation has announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic," he said. "We will be there for our communities when they need us most."

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