Australia IS running out of food: Farmers have no more pasta to sell and panic buying has depleted rice stocks that were already low because of drought
- Panic buying left supermarkets stripped of pasta, rice, mince and other goods
- Shortage has left pasta and rice producers scrambling to meet surge in demand
- Australian pasta company San Remo said availability will vary from store to store
- The spike in demand has also impacted SunRice, already depleted from drought
Australia is facing a rice and pasta shortage after panic-buyers left stocks completely depleted.
Farmers are running out of durum wheat, the crop used to produce pasta, and say they need the remainder to plant a winter crop.
A combination of drought and panic-buying has also left supplies of rice worryingly low, according to the AFR.
Australia used to be self-sufficient in its production of rice but a devastating drought and a hike in water prices for irrigated agriculture has crippled the industry.
This followed by panic buying has exacerbated a shortage, according to the country’s biggest rice supplier SunRice.
An unprecedented demand for pasta, rice and mince meat has left supermarket shelves bare across the country
Australian pasta company San Remo issued a statement on its website assuring customers they are committed to ‘keeping pasta on everyone’s table’.
‘Our teams are working around the clock to ensure a steady supply of high-quality pasta products are provided to our retail partners across the country,’ the company said.
Australian pasta company San Remo issued a statement on its website assuring customers they are committed to ‘keeping pasta on everyone’s table’
‘The availability from store to store will fluctuate depending on local demand and regular stock levels for each retail store. Where possible, we suggest discussing with your local supermarkets’ store managers to understand when stock will be replenished.’
Barilla, another major pasta brand, has likewise been feeling the pressure from increased demand and has turned to its suppliers in Italy for additional stock.
SunRice’s chief executive Rob Gordon admitted the surge has ‘exceeded supply capability’ and said the company is now seeking to obtain rice from overseas.
Coles has pleaded with customers to show respect and compassion when shopping for essentials and to support staff who are working hard to keep products on shelves
Rice farmers have been given fixed-price contracts amid the crisis, the company said.
The beef industry has also seen supermarket orders soar to 25 tonnes a day – compared to its regular five tonnes – thanks to panic buying.
Beef mince is among the products that are under a two-item buying limit at Coles after shoppers left stocks depleted.
Patrick Hutchinson, the chief executive of the Australian Meat Industry Council said one of the business’s biggest priorities during this time is hygiene among workers – many of which are from overseas working on visas.
Farmers of durum wheat said most of their remaining supplies were for winter crops and the spike in demand has also impacted the already shortage-hit Sun Rice, which has been dealing with a decline production due to the drought
The spike in demand has also impacted the already shortage-hit Sun Rice (left) which has been dealing with a decline production due to the drought. Barilla is also seeking supplies from overseas
‘We’ve got to keep this product moving through the system. It’s not like toilet paper. This is a long supply chain and it’s a supply chain based in rural and regional Australia. It underpins tens of thousands of jobs in rural and regional Australia and we’ve got to make sure it’s continually moving,’ he told The Australian.
Coles and Woolworths are among the supermarket chains that have been forced to place restrictions on foods and other goods after panic-buying has left shelves bare.
Aldi, Coles, IGA and Woolworths have issued a plea for customers to be more considerate and only buy what they need.
In a newspaper advertisement, the grocery retailers also called for shoppers to stop attacks on staff and fellow customers after more people were filmed spouting verbal abuse.
Scott Morrison named the behaviour one of the most disappointing things he had ever seen.
‘There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies from fear of a lockdown or anything like this,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
The supermarkets say they’re doing everything they can to speed up the turnover of goods.
SUPERMARKET BUYING LIMITS
Two items per person
Mince includes Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken & Turkey
UHT long-life milk
One-pack limit per customer, per shop
Rice (2kg and over)
Fresh Fruit & Veg
Meat (excluding mince)
Drinks (ambient and chilled)
Easter confectionery & merchandise
Wet Dog Food
Wet Cat Food
Two-pack limit per customer, per shop
Every other category