URBANDALE — As Iowa responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s grocery industry is adapting to unprecedented consumer demand.
COVID-19 has caused a surge in demand for a number of grocery items, leaving some grocery store shelves temporarily empty. In response, the grocery industry is working hard to meet the needs of consumers, with many stores restocking items multiple times each day and changing store hours to accommodate extra sanitation and stocking efforts.
“The demand for certain products has made it challenging to distribute goods fast enough to restock shelves with those items as quickly as consumers are purchasing them,” Iowa Grocery Industry Association President Michelle Hurd said. “But the important thing to know is that there is enough food and most items will be back in stock within a day or two. We are asking people to please remain calm and buy only what you need for the week. This will allow us to get products back on store shelves and for everyone to get what they need.”
Hurd explains that the food industry has been working with government at the federal, state and local levels to ensure uninterrupted service to consumers. As a result, grocery stores and food manufacturer employees have been identified as essential emergency workers.
Hurd says that shortened store hours are NOT due to any shortages. Adjusted hours allow store employees the time they need to clean and sanitize and keep shelves stocked to meet the needs of all Iowans.
“There is unwavering support of the food industry and our front-line workers who are doing a wonderful job,” Hurd said. “As you visit your local grocery and convenience stores in the coming days, please be sure to thank them for coming to work and for their extra efforts to keep us healthy and to keep shelves stocked with the products we need.”
According to Hurd, stores are following federal, state and local guidelines as well as CDC guidelines when it comes to protecting customers and employees. That includes preventing sick employees from coming to work and asking sick customers not to come into stores.
“The supply chain is strong and shelves are being refilled daily. Remain calm and do not over buy so everyone can get the items they need,” Hurd said. “As the leading resource for the food industry in our state, the Iowa Grocery Industry Association is proud to represent an industry that is providing essential support during this time of need. We share the hope that the impact of this disease will be minimized and our thoughts are with those who have been affected by it.”