Melbourne panic-buyers strip supermarkets ahead of meat shortages

Not a sausage: Supermarket shelves are stripped bare by panic-buyers as Melbourne braces for huge meat shortages

  • Supermarket shelves stripped by panic-buyers amid start of second lockdown
  • Twitter, Facebook users share ‘selfish’ shopper pictures, showing bare shelves
  • Meat one of the most popular items among those desperate to fill their fridges 
  • Follows  abattoirs, meat processing plants scaling back on their production
  • Coles, Woolworths reinstates shopper limits to get people to stop panic buying 

Bare supermarket shelves are now a common sight in Melbourne as panic-buyers rush to stock up on essentials amid the city’s strict Stage 4 lockdown.

Meat is now the most popular item among shoppers eager to fill their fridges ahead of abattoirs and meat processing plants scaling back to two-thirds of production.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday announced the industry-changing move as part of the COVIDSafe plan after implementing Stage 4 restrictions on Sunday – locking  Melburnians down for six weeks.  

Shelves have been stripped bare but this time it is not just the toilet paper aisle – milk, vegetables and meat has become scarce in some store. Pictured: The result of Aldi shoppers’ panic-buying in Melbourne

As regional Victoria prepares to go into Stage 3 lockdown, long queues of people wearing masks have been seen outside supermarkets across the state. 

Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply to regional Victoria, including the Mitchell Shire, from 11.59pm on Wednesday. 

It includes residents only leaving home to grocery shop, provide care, exercise and work or study. 

Stage 4 only applies to metropolitan Melbourne at the moment, and requires residents to stay within 5km of their homes for shopping and exercise. 

Both restriction stages require residents to wear masks. 

Long queues of people wearing masks have been seen outside supermarkets across the state 

Shelves have been stripped bare in supermarkets as a result but this time it is not just the toilet paper aisle – milk, vegetables and meat has become scarce in some stores. 

Shoppers forced to leave empty handed because of the shortages have vented their frustration online, with many uploading photos of the last standing products on supermarket shelves. 

Shoppers forced to leave empty handed because of the shortages have vented their frustration online, with many uploading photos of last standing products on supermarket shelves. Pictured: A Twitter user venting their frustration about supermarket shortages online

While the remainder of Victoria is on Stage 3 restrictions, long queues of people wearing masks have been seen outside supermarkets across the state. Pictured: Shoppers waiting in line for a register

Chicken, kangaroo, toiletries and even chocolate so far seem to be the items most snubbed by shoppers amid the start of Melbourne’s six-week lockdown.

One Twitter user’s post showed cans of Spam, pre-packaged salad, onions, cucumbers, nuts and what looks to be large bags of rice were the most neglected items at one store.

‘My friend is an attorney in Melbourne, Australia, and they’re all panic buying the grocery store again because they got locked down even harder this time around,’ the user tweeted.  

One Twitter user’s post showed cans of Spam, pre-packaged salad, onions, cucumbers, nuts and what looks to be large bags of rice were the most neglected items at one store. Pictured: One of four photos tweeted by the Twitter user

Another Twitter user pointed to taking advantage of the Kangaroo meat left on supermarket shelves.

‘As #Melbourne approaches curfew and further – meat shortages appear on supermarket shelves. In at least there is plenty of meat left. #Kangaroo #Covid_19 #COVID19Vic,’ he said.

The reaction was similar on Facebook, with one user ‘disappointed’ with the significant shop by one woman at Woolworths Highett.

‘So disappointed and angry to see a woman spend about $1,200 at Woolworths highett this morning, with an enormous trolley,’ the Facebook user said.

The reaction was similar on Facebook, with one user ‘disappointed’ with the significant shop by one woman at Woolworths Highett (pictured)

‘Her items included about 15 trays of mince. So so selfish. I was the only person who challenged her. Manager was ‘no in yet’.

‘But your stores must stand up to these individuals and think of those who live week to week and can’t get supplies and are possibly frightened now, thanks to that appalling behaviour.’  

Others also pleaded with Melburnians to hold off from panic buying as supermarkets will be open for the next six weeks.

The reaction was met with Melburnians pleading with others to hold off from panic buying as supermarkets will be open for the next six weeks. Pictured: A tweet on Twitter about the matter

Panic-buying in Melbourne amid the city’s strict six-week lockdown is prompting others to panic buy so they don’t miss out on items they want. Pictured: A tweet on Twitter about the matter

Others have seen the funnier side of panic buying amid Melbourne’s second lockdown. Pictured: A tweet on Twitter about the matter

Since Stage 4 restrictions were announced, Coles has imposed a two pack per customer limit in Metro Melbourne on mince, chicken breast and chicken thighs.

The limits are in addition to the existing two pack per customer limit on hand sanitiser and one pack per customer limit on face masks.  

Woolworths restrictions are even stricter – reinstating a purchase limit of two items per customer on toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, tissues, anti bacterial wipes, liquid hand wash, disinfectants, bleach, cleaners, disposable gloves, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, spongers and scourers, and frozen vegetables, fish, fruit and poultry.

This limit also applies to long-life milk, canned goods, dairy milk, juice, prepackaged bacon, eggs, mince, sausages, Indian foods and sauces, Mexican dinner kits, salsa, burgers, rissoles, meatballs, prepackaged vegetables, bread and frozen seafood. 

Since the implementation of Stage 4 restrictions, supermarkets have reinstated limitations on a number of products to stop people from panic-buying (pictured)

Woolworths (pictured) restrictions are even stricter – reinstating a purchase limit of two items per customer on toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, tissues, anti bacterial wipes, liquid hand wash, disinfectants and bleach, among others

Shoppers are also only able to get two packs of fresh meat; 1kg of meat from the butcher; 1kg of small goods and poultry from the Deli; and 2kgs of carrots, onions and potatoes. 

On Monday, Coles chief operating officer Matt Swindells told the Today show limits introduced was to ‘make sure everyone gets the food they need through the next six weeks of lockdown’. 

‘I can absolutely tell you that we are doing everything that we can and we have been leading the way with the Department of Health in Victoria on new standards for distribution centre hygiene,’ he said. 

Woolworths told news.com.au it was ‘confident’ it was able to ‘maintain a good supply of fresh meat of our Victorian customers’.

‘We’ll monitor the impact closely as the new restrictions come into effect later this week,’ a representative said. 

Coles (pictured) has imposed a two pack per customer limit in Metro Melbourne on mince, chicken breast and chicken thighs

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