empty shelves

Major supermarkets began rationing food online on Sunday after panicked shoppers cleared shelves and experts warned of weeks of shortages (The Telegraph, Sky News, The Daily Mail). British supermarkets trying to prevent shoppers from stockpiling have put purchase limits on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes, hand soap, toilet paper and children’s medications (The Guardian) Children’s medicines, pasta and tinned vegetables are being rationed as some of the main supermarkets try to prevent stores being stripped of everyday goods amid panic buying (The Times £). Tesco, the UK’s largest grocer, has begun restricting sales of essential food and household items as a result of coronavirus stockpiling. (The BBC)

Supermarket groups are reporting a run on certain products, a rise in online ordering and are preparing to ration supplies and restrict operations if the coronavirus outbreak worsens (The Financial Times £). Britain’s coronavirus outbreak has seen a “large spike in demand” for toilet paper, according to the UK’s largest supplier Wepa UK (Sky News).

The government has asked supermarkets to increase availability of home delivery services to help people in self-isolation with coronavirus get access to food and other essentials. (The Guardian)

Supermarkets have cast doubts on an assurance from the health secretary that food supplies would not be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. (The BBC)

Some traders on Amazon and eBay are being accused of profiteering from coronavirus fears by selling bottles of hand sanitiser at hugely inflated prices. (Sky News)

The crisis on Britain’s high streets showed no sign of easing during the storm-buffeted month of February, while new figures show the number of retail workers losing their jobs this year is approaching 20,000. (The Guardian)

The Guardian looks at why UK high street retailers want urgent reform of business rates. Lobby groups say way rates are calculated and paid hurting most those it aims to help most. (The Guardian)

The BBC also writes about “the tax that hits struggling High Streets hardest” ahead of the Budget. (The BBC)

Pret A Manger spent £20m last year on anti-allergy measures, including full ingredients labelling, as it overhauled safety measures after the deaths of two people who had eaten its products. (The Financial Times £)

Scotch whisky producers are warning that investment plans and jobs could be under threat unless they get a helping hand from the government. (The Times £)

A dog food maker has fetched a £3.5m investment to expand its range to cats. Bella & Duke, which sells raw, unprocessed pet food that it claims is healthier than typical feeds, provides an online subscription delivery service tailored for each pet. (The Times £)

UK consumers will spend more than £4bn getting their caffeine fix from high street coffee shops this year. (The Guardian)

Starbucks has temporarily banned the use of reusable personal cups in its UK stores in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. (Sky News)

The chief executive of Suntory has warned that the coronavirus outbreak is hitting alcohol consumption, which will eventually impact on profits at the third-largest spirits maker, adding that he expects the turmoil in China to trigger a return of production to Japan. (The Financial Times £)

Chinese exports plummeted in the first two months of the year after the rapid spread of the coronavirus disrupted businesses and supply chains. (The Telegraph)

Plant-based meat substitute sales grew 18% in the US last year to almost $1bn amid increasing consumer interest in alternative proteins. (The Financial Times £)

Hot cross bacon buttie are among new additions to Gail’s array of eco-conscious products. At least 25 new products and initiatives are promised over the coming year by the baker, as part of an entire Waste Not range of foods which aims to cut down on ingredients squandered throughout the company’s supply chain. (The Guardian)