We've apparently reached that point in the pandemic where toilet paper is a hot commodity again. Procter & Gamble, the largest US manufacturer of toilet paper and paper towels, announced it is boosting production—operating factories 24 hours per day, seven days a week—in response to increased demand. The moves comes as several retailers reported they were seeing limits being placed on P&G paper shipments to stores, reports the Wall Street Journal. The good news, though, is that toilet paper is not nearly as hard to find as it was in the early days of the pandemic.
Paper products were 86% in stock as of Aug. 29, according to market-research firm IRI. That's lower than average but a far cry from the 40% level we hit last year. Still, paper-product sales were up 8% in the three weeks ending Aug. 22 compared to the same period a year ago, according to IRI. Business Insider reports customers have been complaining about shortages of toilet paper and water at some Costco stores since July. Others complained that the retailer was limiting purchases of toilet paper, as many stores did early on in the pandemic.
While supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages remain an issue, P&G cites the delta variant as one of the reasons that Americans are buying more home essentials, including toilet paper. In a July survey of 1,000 adults cited by Supermarket News, 69% said they were considering replenishing their stockpile of groceries and other essential items due to the delta variant. The top stockpile items: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. (Read more toilet paper stories.)