Coles reintroduces product limits to curb panic buying as Covid causes staff shortages

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Coles brings back product limits in thousands of supermarkets as Covid staff shortages cause chaos – here’s which pantry staples are being rationed

  • Coles to reintroduce product limits as Covid staff shortages affect supply chains
  • Supermarket giant placed limits on meat & rapid antigen tests on Wednesday
  • Customers are only limited to one Covid-19 at-home test kit per transaction
  • Shoppers can only buy two packs of chicken, sausage or mince products 


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Thousands of Coles supermarkets will reintroduce product limits as staff shortages due to Covid-19 outbreaks interrupt supply chains across Australia. 

The supermarket giant announced its decision to bring back buyer limits on some meat products and rapid antigen tests on Wednesday afternoon.

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Customers will be limited to two packs of chicken breasts, chicken thighs, mince and sausages, while Covid antigen tests are limited to one pack per transaction. 

Coles supermarkets will reintroduce product limits as staff shortages due to Covid-19 outbreaks interrupt supply chains across Australia (pictured, a masked Coles employee processes an order in Elsternwick, Melbourne)

Coles supermarkets will reintroduce product limits as staff shortages due to Covid-19 outbreaks interrupt supply chains across Australia (pictured, a masked Coles employee processes an order in Elsternwick, Melbourne)

The product limits will be implemented in-store and online across the country except for Western Australia. 

‘Due to high demand, we have introduced temporary pack limits per transaction/per customer on a range of products in store and online,’ Coles said in a statement.

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‘Thank you for your patience. We ask that customers continue to respect and support our team members, particularly in these busier times.’

Bare meat shelves have become the new norm at this Coles store on the Sunshine Coast, according to shopper Jett

Bare meat shelves have become the new norm at this Coles store on the Sunshine Coast, according to shopper Jett

Coles has been forced to reintroduce buyer limits as products are stripped from shelves due to high demand (pictured, a Coles product limit notice in a Sydney store from March 2020)

Coles has been forced to reintroduce buyer limits as products are stripped from shelves due to high demand (pictured, a Coles product limit notice in a Sydney store from March 2020)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed product shortages after an emergency National Cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  

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‘We’re not just dealing with a health challenge, but the economic challenge of taking people out of the workforce, people that are doing very important jobs making sure there’s food on the table,’ Mr Morrison said.  

‘The Treasurer in particular has been working with Coles and Woolies and other suppliers, and we are monitoring these issues very closely.

‘I think what they are doing it’s a precautionary step, and a wise one. 

‘And that is why it’s important that we’re working closely with their distribution centres and treating their workers the same we would with health care workers and aged care workers.’ 

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The announcement comes as supermarket shelves are stripped bare as store’s struggle to refill shelves in time with workers forced into Covid-19 isolation. 

Shortages of meat on supermarket shelves haven't gone unnoticed by disappointed customers (pictured, a Coles on Queensland's Sunshine Coast)

Shortages of meat on supermarket shelves haven’t gone unnoticed by disappointed customers (pictured, a Coles on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast)

Hundreds of meat workers in abattoirs have been sent into isolation in a matter of days as the Omicron strain sweeps across Australia.  

Coles Chief Operating Officer Matthew Swindells said shoppers were in for a ‘couple of difficult weeks’ as Omicron worsens existing labour shortages. 

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‘We were facing a number of supply chain challenges already – a shortage of pallets and a shortage of truck drivers,’ he told the Today show.

‘(After the Christmas rush) we’re somewhat on the back foot trying to make sure that we can keep the food supply lines going.

‘We’ve got probably another couple difficult weeks.’

The supermarket executive warned shoppers they may need to change brand to find their favourite products.

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‘It will take us a few weeks to fully recover from this and importantly, we need to get those team member numbers that are isolating back into the workforce to recover all of those food supplies.’ 

Coles Product Limits 

Hough Covid-19 Home Test Kit – 1 pack (excluding WA)

Chicken breasts – 2 packs

Chicken thighs – 2 packs

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Mince – 2 packs

Sausages – 2 packs

 

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