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Iceland Supermarket Sales Up as Coronavirus Concerns Inspire Frozen Food Rush

The mercury is ironically rising on both freezer and food sales

Pictured: A freezer full of Iceland own brand battered chicken breststeaks. Photo by: Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Novel coronavirus stockpiling takes a cold turn

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is hitting the London restaurant industry hard: Chinatown restaurants report continual downturn; the London Coffee Festival has been postponed; U.K. Hospitality has called on the government to relax business rates in the event of a coronavirus lockdown, similar to the measures imposed in Italy.

That situation — and the advice to self-isolate if symptoms appear — is what’s driving another key facet of response to the virus: lots of people buying lots of food in supermarkets. Frozen food purveyor Iceland has reported a surge in sales, according to the Guardian, with founder Malcolm Walker saying “Frozen food is the perfect way to stockpile ... We have no shortage of stock.” Meanwhile, retailers John Lewis and are also seeing a run on freezers. Elsewhere, Richard Harrow, chief executive of British Frozen Food Federation said it was “too early” to say if there would be shortages but that the sector was well placed to cope with demand. He did however warn that home storage may present some fundamental complications: “It’s not like dried pasta or toilet roll which you can put in a cupboard,” he said, “with frozen food you have to put it somewhere cold.”

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