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How California’s Grocery Supply Chain Is Holding Up During The Pandemic




Workers re-stock items at Northgate Gonzalez Market, a Hispanic specialty supermarket, on March 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Workers re-stock items at Northgate Gonzalez Market, a Hispanic specialty supermarket, on March 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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While they may not be on the “front lines” of fighting the pandemic in the same way that medical and public health professionals are, grocery stores and their employees are playing an undeniably crucial role in ensuring that communities across the country have access to the food and products they need to survive during stay-at-home. 

If you’ve been grocery shopping since the start of the outbreak, you’ve no doubt noticed lots of empty shelves, especially in aisles where things like toilet paper, cleansing wipes and hand sanitizer would normally be. Other staples like pasta have been depleted as well as shoppers everywhere stock up for surviving a couple of weeks indoors. While it might give you the impression that supplies are low, grocers say there’s plenty of food and supplies to go around (yes, toilet paper too), but that the supply chain that gets the products from manufacturer to market has been strained by a change in shopping pattern, a.k.a. panic-buying.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a look at how California’s grocery supply chain is holding up, get a sense of how things look from the perspective of grocers themselves, and we’ll take your calls if you work in or manage a grocery store and would like to share your experience of working in this industry during the pandemic.

Guest:

Ronald Fong, president and CEO of the California Grocers Association, a statewide trade group representing over 300 retailers operating more than 6,000 brick-and-mortar stores as well as a number of grocery supply companies

Jonathan Fielding, M.D., distinguished professor of Health Policy and Management at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA; he previously served for 16 years as Public Health Director and Health Officer for Los Angeles County; he tweets @JEFielding_MD