Toilet paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has stepped up production at its Millicent factory in South Australia to meet the surge in demand for household essentials driven by escalating fears over coronavirus.
The US conglomerate behind household brands such as Kleenex and Viva said factory workers are working around the clock to help replenish empty supermarket shelves.
“Kleenex toilet paper for Australia and NZ is made at our Mill in South Australia, and our production lines are working 24/7 to address the increased, short-term demand,” the company said in a statement to Inside FMCG.
The manufacturing giant said it is working closely with retailers to remedy the shortages as quickly as possible.
On Wednesday, Woolworths became the first supermarket to enforce a quantity limit on toilet paper purchases.
Consumers will be restricted to four packs per transaction both in-store and online to help manage stock levels.
“It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand,” Woolworths said in a statement.
“Our teams are continuing to work hard on restocking stores with long-life food and groceries from our distribution centres.”
The retailer said the vast majority of its products are available as normal.
Coles told Inside FMCG it is in ongoing contact with suppliers, government stakeholders and transport partners on how best to improve availability on popular products, such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items.
“We have increased deliveries from our distribution centres and our teams are working hard to fill the shelves as quickly as possible,” a Coles spokesperson said.
“While there may be some temporary stock shortages, the vast majority of products in our stores and via Coles online remain available for customers.”
Many consumers have already taken to online marketplaces to offer packs of toilet paper for extortionate prices. One Facebook user has advertised a 36 pack of Quilton for $475 on Facebook Marketplace.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged the public to remain calm and to stop stockpiling toilet paper as fears mount over the spread of coronavirus.
“All of us should take the advice of the health experts, no doubt about it. But we should also go about our business and not panic, and that’s the strongest message we can send,” Berejiklian said on Wednesday according to AAP.
“It’s really important for us to take a precautionary approach … we’ve made sure we’ve put in place everything we can to contain the spread.”