Empty toilet paper shelves in Dutch stores; Not so bad, supermarkets say

Empty shelves at an Albert Heijn store in Amsterdam Oost, 13 March 2020
Empty shelves at an Albert Heijn store in Amsterdam Oost, 13 March 2020NL TimesNL Times

After Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced new measures against coronavirus Covid-19 on Thursday, people in the Netherlands seemed to start hoarding toilet paper and non-perishables. Social media is full of pictures showing empty shelves in Dutch supermarkets. But according to the supermarkets themselves, the problems are not so bad.

A spokesperson for Albert Heijn told RTL Nieuws that there is a "small increase" in the demand for non-perishable products and cleaning products. Products being sold more than usual "will continue to be supplemented where possible," the spokesperson said.

Industry organization CBL told the broadcaster it received "no signal" from supermarket chains about stock problems. There is a "slight increase" in the sales of "different products", including non-perishable items, cleaning products and "sometimes paracetamol and toilet paper", a spokesperson said, adding: "We want to be careful in communication."ย 

Essity, the Belgian factory that makes a large part of the Netherlands' toilet paper, told EditieNL that production has been increasing in response to rising demand for a few weeks. According to spokesperson Remco van Miltenburg, consumers do not need to worry about supply for the time being - the factory is still able to meet the increasing demand.ย