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Toilet Paper Manufacturers Working to Meet Public Demand

Consumers feel lack of restroom staple threatens basic needs

March 18, 2020

Whether you’re managing the restrooms in a public facility or just your own home, you’ve no doubt noticed the shortage of toilet paper in stores as panicked people empty all the shelves. If you’re scratching your head at this reaction, Time magazine has an explanation; it’s all about comfort, cleanliness, and control.

Toilet paper is a comfort item that many people cannot imagine living without. Few of us remember when we didn’t use the product. As humans are social beings and count on our community for survival, we want to be clean and presentable. Toilet paper helps us meet that need.

Since news about how to handle the coronavirus was not always consistent, and many people believe the United States was slow to respond to the threat, people felt they did not have time to prepare when they were suddenly told to stock up on goods for an indefinite amount of time. That’s where the panic came in that led to some people taking more than their fair share. Unlike food, where people had a choice of items to purchase, there is no substitute for toilet paper. People felt panic buying represented one thing they could control in the face of so many uncertainties about how COVID-19 will affect the United States in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, companies that manufacture and distribute toilet paper are trying to adjust to this rapidly evolving new norm in consumer behavior, CNN reports. Many were already operating their manufacturing facilities 24/7 prior to the pandemic. Now, some are limiting their facilities to essential workers and contractors. It’s unclear, however, what they will do if those workers get sick.

Paper product manufacturers Georgia Pacific Professional, Kimberly-Clark Professional, and Marcal, a Soundview Paper Co.,  are all seeking spikes in demand.

“Given the current situation surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19, and just cold and flu season in general, we are seeing two times the normal demand for toilet paper from retailers. At the same time, we’re seeing demand dip among our business-to-business customers (B2B) as away-from-home activity decreases in an effort to stem the spread of the virus,” said Eric Abercrombie, Georgia-Pacific spokesperson. “Because we have both the consumer and B2B sides of our business, we’re able to leverage existing B2B inventory to prioritize and meet that consumer demand.”

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