University of Michigan professor: Grocery stores not equipped to keep up with level of demand

Posted at 9:21 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 14:22:18-04

(WXYZ) — A University of Michigan sustainability expert discussed grocery shopping behavior during a pandemic.

Shelie Miller, a professer at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, says panic shopping increases the potential for household food waste, since large quantities of perishable items are likely to spoil.

Miller says there is no expectation that stores will run out of food or that grocery stores will close.

"It is important to only buy what you think your household will consume before it goes bad," Miller says.

As long as everyone only purchases what they can reasonably expect to eat, there will be less stress on grocery stores to meet demand, Miller says.

She explains that stores are running temporarily low on some items because they are not equipped to keep up with the current level of demand.

After the initial rounds of panic shopping, Miller says she expects the food system will be able to catch up.

Although online grocery shopping is a better option than going to the grocery store, Miller says most online systems are not currently designed for the demand volumes that are being experienced.

However, she says that as the current stress on the food system decreases, online grocery options will most likely become easier to schedule.

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