Shortage of pasta, baking supplies possible amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With COVID-19 case counts increasing across the United States, there are concerns about the supply chain’s ability to keep up again with cleaning supplies, toilet paper and paper towels.

The list of supplies we could see leave the shelves this fall may surprise you.

“There has been a shift in demand so before it was people used to go to work and come home, now people are working from home over a prolonged period of time,” said Patrick Penfield, director of Supply Chain Executive Management Programs at Syracuse University.

Manufacturers are struggling to determine what’s hot and what’s not.

“They’re adding more workers, but unfortunately because of COVID, you’ve got this prolonged situation so if somebody has the virus, they have to go into quarantine,” Penfield said.

The list of items high in-demand include:

  • Pasta
  • Frozen dinners
  • Canned products
  • Bike parts
  • Furniture
  • Baking supplies
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper

“It’s difficult because some demand is unprecedented,” Penfield said. “Baking supplies, who would have thought there would be a 3,400% increase, of all things you’d think we’d have plentiful amounts of are in short supply,” Penfield said.

Consumers fear the unrest surrounding the 2020 election will have a larger impact, but Penfield said it shouldn’t be a concern.

“I think hoarding is something you shouldn’t do and I think if everyone takes what they need, it will help everybody from a demand standpoint and that’s something we have to be careful about,” said Penfield.

Experts say products imported from China should not be an issue, but medicines imported from India could be a problem. The country is in dire straits because of the pandemic and with an increase in cases, factories are closing down.

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner and some retailers opting to close on Thanksgiving, online retailers will be filling more orders than ever before.

“If you are going to buy stuff online, buy it early because the big issue is going to be delivery,” Penfield said. “I think the big problem will be with the postal service and things that they’ve done to kind of restructure their operations. UPS and FedEx will struggle with deliveries.”

The holiday season will continue to drive up demand. Experts suggest purchasing what you need for Thanksgiving now because by Nov. 15, supplies will be in high demand. Shop for items online if you can and check in with your grocery store to see what days it typically restocks items.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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