Pandemic-era shopping: fully stocked, differently stocked

The New York Times headline is borderline triumphant: Flour and Toilet Paper Are Back at N.Y. Supermarkets! But they buried the lede, which is a nifty deep-dive into how store selection has evolved the past few months.

The Times, which also references a good round-up of supply changes the Wall Street Journal published last month, goes long on manufacturers’ refocusing on high-demand products. With supply chains feeling strain, and grocery stores still experiencing above-average sales volume, brands have put their energy into keeping top items in stock.

“Hershey’s has had to adjust to consumers wanting more chocolate bars and less gum,” the Times notes. “Shops that might have stocked six types of canned tuna fish are down to three or two.” Everything from toilet paper (still) to meat is subject to scarcity and a narrowed selection. Left unanswered is the question of how long store shelves will stay in this state.