Food shortages

empty-shelves2

After goats cheese and wine, this article reports on possible shortages of olive oil.

Whilst you can’t stock up on a perishable item like goats cheese, I suppose there could be panic buying of olive oil and wine.

These latest (possible) food shortages could be described as middle class problems, but I remember numerous shortages of everyday grocery items in the 1970s. At that time there was panic buying of sugar, salt, flour, bread and toilet rolls, to name but a few. It seems that the sugar shortage resulted from “Caribbean countries, apparently in breach of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement, began selling sugar cane to more lucrative markets in the United States” (more background here). But I recall that the salt shortage was triggered by a radio DJ’s joke about a strike in the salt mines. There were so many strikes in the 1970s that I don’t suppose news of yet another one would come as any surprise.

There was a tendency to accept the vaguest evidence of shortages as a reason for panic buying. I remember a friend buying two packets of tea in a supermarket, only to be asked by another shopper whether it was in short supply! I have come across another possible reason for this shopper behaviour: inflation was so high at the time that spending what money you had now, rather than next week, might have made sense.

Image from: MocraGiftsBlogSpot

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