Sainsbury’s will today ramp up the rationing of a growing number of its products in response to heightened demand from customers stockpiling items in the light of new coronavirus restrictions.
As of this morning, customers will be able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.
In a letter to customers, chief executive Mike Coupe said the supermarket was implementing the “extra steps” in response to feedback from customers and staff.
He reassured customers that Sainsbury’s “has enough food coming into the system, but is limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger numbers of customers”.
“We still have enough food for everyone – if we all just buy what we need for us and our families”, he reiterated.
Several of the UK’s other major grocers have implemented similarly draconian measures in the face of the outbreak.
Aldi has said shoppers can only buy four of any of its products, while Tesco has reportedly reduced its buying limits from five to two for essential items such as antibacterial gels, wipes and sprays, dried pasta and UHT milk.
To ensure that the most vulnerable shoppers can get hold of the items that they need, some supermarkets including Iceland have also put into place special opening arrangements for elderly people.
The first hour of shopping on Thursday at Sainsbury’s will be reserved for such shoppers, who will also have priority access to home delivery time slots.
Food producers and retailers have been in discussions with environment secretary George Eustice over the past days over food supply.
Over the weekend supermarkets released a joint letter to the public reminding customers that “there is enough for everyone if we all work together”.