September's fuel blockade crisis proved just how resilient and organised the UK food industry is. Despite almost being brought to their knees as panic buying drained the pumps dry, stores and staff rallied to make sure shops stayed open and no-one went hungry. Rationing was introduced in some stores after distribution systems started cracking under the strain. But just before the blockades were scaled down, panic buying put some branches of the distribution chain within 24 hours of almost total paralysis. During the crisis, the IGD set up a "mission control centre" at its Hertfordshire headquarters to identify trouble spots, and fed continuous situation reports to MAFF through the blockades. MAFF praised the grocery sector for its "considerable willingness to work together to share resources and facilities to keep things moving". Apart from good publicity, the crisis also meant independents gained, with turnovers soaring 30%. Supermarkets also came in for praise when floods hit communities around the country in October. Among many tales of triumph over adversity was one of Sainsbury's helping out with groceries for people evacuated from their homes in Newhaven, and Safeway opening up containers to sell food near its flooded store in Lewes. {{NEWS }}