Food shortage hits the region

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci released a statement about the shortage.

By Dominique Tassell

Food shortages as a result of the pandemic are affecting local stores, with some putting in place buying limits on food items.

Locals have reported finding it hard to buy items in-store, specifying difficulties buying meat and having large amounts of substitutions on online orders.

Brad Banducci, the CEO of Woolworths Group, released a statement about the shortage.

He stated that the shortage is due to the number of people in Woolworths’ supply chain who are in isolation, “from suppliers to truck drivers and distribution centre team members”.

This shortage is causing material delays to store deliveries, he said.

“To give you a sense of the magnitude of the challenge, we are experiencing Covid-driven absences of 20 per cent in our distribution centres and 10 per cent in our stores.”

Reportedly New South Wales is the most affected state in the country, although Mr Banducci stated “we are seeing impacts across the whole country, and it’s not yet clear how soon the system will come back into balance as we move through the Omicron wave”.

“We understand how frustrating it is when you can’t find the product you’re looking for and, together with our suppliers and supply chain partners, we’re working hard to get all products back on shelf as quickly as we can (including Rapid Antigen Tests).”

Mr Banducci stated that Woolworths has enough stock in the system and a good supply of products in each category though people may not be able to find their favourite brand. He stated it is helpful if customers can be flexible with the choices they make.

“We would of course also ask you to keep shopping as you normally would and to continue to show kindness to our teams,” he said.

He stated that when shopping online, Woolworths is automatically activating substitutions on all orders.

“We know this isn’t ideal, but it does mean there’s less chance of missing out on something you really need. We’ll revert to your preference as soon as possible.”

Mr Banducci stated that Woolworths will continue to keep learning and adapting as the pandemic continues, and will communicate any changes to customers as they arise.

Coles has imposed restrictions on food items, with customers now limited to two packs per customer of chicken breasts and chicken thighs – or six pieces from the deli.

Two-pack limits also apply to mince and sausages.