As extra stock floods stores and buying limits lift in supermarkets, there’s one pantry staple we’re still struggling to find. Here’s why.
As extra stock floods stores and buying limits lift in supermarkets, there’s one pantry staple we’re still struggling to find. Here’s why.

The supermarket item you still can’t find

Supermarket shelves are finally starting to look a little healthier after they were stripped bare in a mad rush from panicked shoppers.

But as Coles and Woolworths begin to loosen up the tight shopping restrictions, there's one item that has become the unicorn of grocery shelves - and its not toilet paper.

Woolies CEO Brad Banducci has revealed shoppers are still struggling to get hold of pasta sauce, despite the Fresh Food People flooding stores with huge amounts of stock.

"Pasta sauce is still in short supply, despite an extra 850,000 units this week," he said, adding that levels of pasta itself had been improving after secured an additional 1,000 pallets - that's 500,000 packs.

The unicorn of supermarkets in April 2020 – pasta sauce. Picture: Adam Smith
The unicorn of supermarkets in April 2020 – pasta sauce. Picture: Adam Smith

Another item the supermarket giant is struggling to get back to normal is kitchen paper, Mr Banducci said.

"We do still have some issues on paper towels and tissues, with sales up 60-80%. That's a staggering 2.75 million rolls of paper towels and more than 1.6 million boxes of tissues a week," he explained. "These are big numbers and we're working with our suppliers to bring in even more supply."

Hand sanitiser is still in short supply, with sales this week eclipsing the total amount normally sold in 40 weeks.

However if you've been battling through with little to no toilet paper, demand has been tapering with Woolies customers so you should be able to snag some in most stores.

"This week's sales expected to be around 15-16 million rolls," Mr Banducci said. "That's still 45% up on last year, but with supply up 70% on last year, there is increasingly more on- shelf."

Toilet paper is finally back in stock across many Woolworths stores. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Toilet paper is finally back in stock across many Woolworths stores. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

The 2-product limit on oats and oral care has also been lifted in addition to a longer list last week that including fresh milk, packaged meat and breakfast cereals. You can check the full list here.

However he pleaded with Aussies to still only buy what they need for the Easter weekend, revealing Woolworths had added "more delivery windows" for its home delivery service for vulnerable shoppers.

The Woolworths Basics Box has been extended to and is available to anyone in need, either for themselves or for delivery to others in the community. This will be available in VIC, NSW, SA, TAS, the ACT and SE Queensland, with WA, NT and the rest of QLD to follow at the end of next week.

The box, which is filled with two weeks' of essential supplies, costs $80 including delivery.

Last week, it was revealed panic buyers had started bulk buying a range of new food items as we entered lockdown - packet cake mixes and cleaning items.

"Two of our highest growth categories this week have been cake mixes and household cleaning products. A lot more kids are baking and parents cleaning as we all spend more time at home," Mr Banducci said.

Coles were also hit hard by panic buyers. Picture: Supplied
Coles were also hit hard by panic buyers. Picture: Supplied

Coles lifted buying restrictions on meat, fresh milk which were all affected amid coronavirus pandemic.

Coles Meat General Manager Charlotte Gilbert said the supermarket had sold a staggering five million packets of mince in the last four weeks.

"We have worked with our dedicated farmers to pull out all the stops to increase supply and offer great value to customers at this challenging time," she said.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au

Originally published as Woolworths item you still can't find

Shelves had previously been stripped bare by panicked shoppers. Picture: Supplied
Shelves had previously been stripped bare by panicked shoppers. Picture: Supplied

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