Stop hoarding products and panic buying, Food City CEO says

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WJHL) -- Food City's CEO Steve Smith addressed the public's concerns over adequate food supply in an online news conference.

Smith said the company is working to "alleviate bottlenecks" in the supply chain and stressed that stores will not run out of food.

During the press conference, Smith urged customers to stop hoarding groceries to allow the supply chain to catch back up. Consumers were told they should continue their weekly shopping trips and replenish personal supplies on a weekly basis.

“Being concerned about the possibility of shortages, it’s only natural, it’s human nature,” Smith said. “Responding to that fear with panic buying is ironically the leading contributor to these shortages.”

Smith estimated it could take weeks to months for the supply chain to catch up to increased demand. Manufacturers said they may scale back on the items they produced to re-establish the supply chain. Customers were told to expect to see those changes in stores. Items in high demand will be limited throughout Food City stores in order to ensure they get into the hands of as many customers as possible.

Smith said high-demand items like toilet paper and sanitizer are being distributed "fairly" to all Food City stores.

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