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‘We’re flat out’: Running out of chicken and mince as people panic-buy

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“Supplies are getting really low, I don’t know how to keep up,” he said.

The most popular items are mince, chicken breasts and lamb cutlets.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. We can’t keep up fast enough – we can’t keep filling the display up fast enough,” Mr Smith said. “We’re flat out.”

Before lunch on Wednesday, Hudson Meats had sold 60 kilograms of chicken and Mr Smith said he didn’t know when further stock would be arriving.

In the stockroom out the back, several lamb carcasses hang which Mr Smith hasn’t had time to process. But other shop owners say they haven’t seen panic-buying.

“People are not being ridiculous, they are just buying essentials,” gourmet food shop Accoutrement manager Natalie Conti said.

The shop has listed its Easter chocolate stock online and is offering free delivery, a move it doesn’t usually do. But it will ensure people who can’t leave the house, such as the elderly, are still able to get their hands on their favourite Easter goods.

Accoutrement's food store manager Natalie Conti says people haven't even thought about Easter which is only three weeks away.

Accoutrement’s food store manager Natalie Conti says people haven’t even thought about Easter which is only three weeks away.Credit:Nick Moir

Ms Conti said many people hadn’t bought their Easter chocolates yet as it’s probably the last things on their minds.

“We’re only three weeks out, although with everything happening, people don’t even know when Easter is,” she said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed those who were panic-buying, saying the behaviour was “un-Australian”.

“On bulk purchasing of supplies, stop hoarding. I can’t be more blunt about it,” he said. “It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.”

As people self-isolate, some restaurants are taking advantage of the increasing demand for food to be delivered.

North Sydney’s Oven Lovin pizzeria owner James Reed has rolled out home delivery and taken on extra staff to cater for this growing market.

James Reed says more people are ordering home delivery as they practise social distancing.

James Reed says more people are ordering home delivery as they practise social distancing. Credit:Nick Moir

Home delivery was always part of the business’ plan, but with more people staying indoors, Mr Reed moved to roll it out sooner.

“If people are staying indoors, it makes more sense to bring food to them,” he said. “If people don’t want to be cooking, leave it to the professionals.”

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