The toilet paper industry is segmented into manufacturing for residential and commercial use, and the difficulty in altering that balance is why finding toilet paper is difficult, rather than a surge in hoarding, argues Will Oremus. "Shifting to retail channels would require new relationships and contracts between suppliers, distributors, and stores; different formats for packaging and shipping; new trucking routes -- all for a bulky product with lean profit margins," he writes.
A new Google website provides reports on how well people are complying with social distancing orders and recommendations around the world. The site uses anonymized location data collected from Google products and services to determine changes in crowd patterns at retail stores, recreational areas, grocery stores, pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and homes.
Kroger will soon test one-way aisles in its stores as another way to help with social distancing, protect its shoppers and employees and slow the spread of coronavirus. Kroger, which usually tries new ideas in select markets before rolling them out to all of its 2,757 stores, has not yet announced where the aisle test will take place.
Walmart has opted not to pursue efforts to sell its majority stake in the UK grocer Asda for the time being, instead focusing its full attention on managing the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter. First-round offers from private-equity firms indicate that Asda's valuation is near the $9 billion mark.
Target's more than 350,000 store and warehouse employees will now be given gloves and face masks at the start of their shifts and will be encouraged to wear the protective gear while working, the retailer said. Stores will also start keeping track of the number of shoppers at any given time and set a limit if necessary.
Home Depot has ordered its stores to stop selling N95 masks and said it will donate the protective gear to first responders, hospitals and other health care workers. Rival home improvement retailer Lowe's said last week it was donating its supply of the masks to US medical centers.
H.E. Butt Grocery has joined with several local restaurants in San Antonio to sell fully packaged meals, with the proceeds going back to the restaurants. The grocer is also taking new steps to limit the number of shoppers allowed in its stores at a time to help with social distancing efforts.
Tea and its various tools help consumers carve out some calm in anxiety-riddled times. Lauren Joseph rounds up a few products to help create a tea routine, including a Bonavita electric kettle, a Finum mesh brewing basket and a handmade mug.
Amazon announced Thursday that masks and other medical equipment on its platform will be sold only to hospitals and government agencies, and it will also expand temperature checks to include all Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees by next week. Employees with a temperature above 100.4 degrees must go home and can return to work only after going 72 hours without a fever.
Pandemic-related news dominated this week's list of most-read food and beverage stories, including stories of how grocers and CPG manufacturers are coping with the coronavirus outbreak. Dairy Farmers of America's acquisition of Dean Foods Assets, the temporary closure of See's Candies and the sale of Lucky's Market assets also made news.
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