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On this day in 2020: Empire, Loblaw respond to food shortage fears amid COVID-19 outbreak


It has been a year of significant change.

COVID-19 demanded a need for speed from grocers and manufacturers that has never been greater. From keeping shelves stocked, to keeping shoppers and front-line workers safe, the industry found ways to make it work.

This month marks one year since the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic, and parts of Canada were put into lockdown. Canadian Grocer has remained committed to keeping our readers informed by exploring the impacts and opportunities to emerge from the pandemic. And we’ve learned a lot.

We decided it was time to look back at some of the stories that had us gripped to our monitors in the early days of the pandemic.

Loblaw Expansion 20150309

March 17, 2020

Empire, Loblaw respond to food shortage fears amid COVID-19 outbreak

Canada’s major grocers are reassuring customers their stores will not run out of food or supplies amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. CEO Galen Weston says in a letter to the company’s loyalty program members not to worry.

READ: How Canadian grocery is dealing with COVID-19

Weston says empty store shelves seen recently were the result of extreme buying levels as Canadians stockpiled supplies.

He says the company’s supply chain and store teams are working on getting the most important items back on store shelves, though some products, such as hand sanitizer, may take longer to restock.

READ: Grocers prepare as concern over coronavirus grows

Empire Co. Ltd. CEO Michael Medline says in a letter to customers that the company, which owns Sobeys and Safeway in Canada, has never seen so many customers visit its stores, but he has great confidence in the country’s grocery and food supply chain.

Medline says the company is working hard to keep shelves stocked amid unprecedented demand.

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