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The Guardian view on empty supermarket shelves: panic is not the problem

The coronavirus pandemic is beginning to expose the fragility of our food system. But will we choose long-term solutions or short-term fixes?Coronavirus - latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageUntil a couple of weeks ago, the idea of waiting in an Ocado queue of 73,735 shoppers, or of supermarkets rationing milk and baked beans, would have sounded like satire. For too many people in the UK, food scarcity is the norm, with mothers and fathers going hungry to ensure their children are fed. But others have grown used to an absurd abundance: strawberries and peaches in midwinter, or 20 types of mustard alongside three score of pasta. When such bounty overflows, it seems self-evident that supplies are both plentiful and reliable - until suddenly they aren't.In fact, warns Tim Lang in his new book, Feeding Britain, our food system is "stretched, open to disruption and far from resilient". It is easy to castigate panic buyers for empty shelves. But while shopping responsibly will help others to get the food they need, only a few people are squirrelling away vast stocks. Research firm Kantar says the average spend per supermarket trip has risen by 16% to ?22.13 month on month - not surprising when households realised they were likely to need lunches at home, including for children no longer in school, and could have to self-isolate for a fortnight. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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