Great news, everybody! You won’t have to resort to scrounging old newspapers and copies of The Farmers’ Almanac to wipe your ass. Toilet paper is on its way back to us, better than ever before.
How do we know this? Supply chain experts have surveyed the situation and reported their findings to CNBC. We’ll also have plenty of eggs, milk, cheese, bread, and meat to get through this crisis—however long it lasts. “The U.S. produces a huge amount of food. We’re also an exporter of food, so we’re going to be okay,” said Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. Food manufacturers have been increasing both their cleaning schedules and social distancing on the production line. We will not starve.
If you have very specific tastes, though, you may have to adjust your expectations a little bit. “The brand that you normally want may not be available,” Stanton said. “But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner.”
It’s going to be harder to get specialty products such as pasta from Italy and cheese from France—they probably won’t disappear altogether, but they’ll be much harder to find. Brandon Hernandez, another supply chain expert, also expects that supply chains that use raw materials—such as quinoa and spices—and packaging from China may be held up. Imported fruits and vegetables may also be held up at the borders, but that will depend on decisions the FDA and USDA haven’t made yet.
This may be good news for American farmers, though: in the absence of imported goods, U.S. manufacturers might start using domestic suppliers.
As for all the toilet paper you hoarded, its stock is about to fall precipitously. As Stanton put it, “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?”