Don't coronavirus panic buy – check freezer stashes and prepare meals if you're concerned about two-week self-isolation

SHOPPERS are being urged not to panic buy if they're worried about a two-week self isolation due to coronavirus.

Supermarket shelves have been stripped of items including toilet roll, hand sanitiser and pasta.

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While some retailers have started rationing stock to stop panicked shoppers from buying in bulk.

But the advice to shoppers is that there's no need to panic.

Aodhan Connolly from the British Retail Consortium told BBC Breakfast: "There's really no need to be stocking up on the way that they're doing.

"Quite simply, if it's not on the shelves now, it will be tomorrow or the next day."

He added that over buying is causing pressure on supply chains.

So what can you do if you're worried about stock piling and a two week self-isolation period? We explain.

Take stock before you buy

Firstly, take a look at what you've got in your cupboards, fridge and freezer.

Have you realistically got enough food to last you two weeks? For the vast majority of people they will have enough to last them two weeks.

If you don't then work out what you can cook with your existing items.

Then make a list of what you need to buy.

Don't panic

Panic buying will only end up costing you money. If you do need to stock up on essentials make sure they are items you usually buy and will use.

There's no point spending money on items that will quickly go out of date.

For example, don't bother with long-life milk if you've never normally use it.

Do you need to stockpile?

No, probably not. If you do need to self-isolate then there are a few options.

The government is advising that it's okay to have friends or family drop off supplies, and there's always the possibility of getting shopping delivered.

Some supermarket slots have been selling out, so it's worth keeping that in mind.

If money isn't an issue then you can order in takeaways.

"Its always worth having a decent stockpile of basic items that you can cook something with if you can't get out," said Naomi Willis, from

"But this should be built up over time and only include items that won't go out of date quickly."

"There's no point in panic buying because this might cause a shortage and there's enough for everybody."

Below we've created a list of basic stockpile items – but really it's up to you to buy items you will use.

Food stockpile checklist

Money blogger Skint Dad has put together a checklist of things you might want to include in your coronavirus stockpile.

  • Pasta – high in carbs and stores well. Can be used in loads of different meals
  • Rice – high in carbs and stores well. Can be used in loads of different meals
  • Lentils – nutritious, easy to cook and a good source of protein
  • Pulses – nutritious, easy to cook and a good source of protein
  • Cereal/oats – avoid ones with processed sugars
  • Beans – a good source of protein
  • Canned meat
  • Canned fish
  • Canned veg – fulls of vitamins. Keep the liquid for stocks
  • Canned fruits – get your vitamins.
  • Dried fruits – last for ages and keep your fruit intake up
  • Powdered milk – it may not taste great on it’s own but is good for oats.
  • Soups – can be used as the base for other dishes
  • Baking goods to make bread
  • Nuts – for protein and fats
  • Coffee and tea
  • Herbs and spices – to help flavour foods
  • Sweets – not just for a treat, good for a quick bit of energy.
  • Bottled water – it’ll be clean
  • Anything specific for kids under two years old, if you have kids
  • Pet supplies, if you have pets

If you're buying more food make sure you rotate what you have to the front of your cupboard and use up your existing stash.

Make the most of yellow stickers

When you go to the supermarket keep an eye out for yellow sticker items.

These are perfect for buying and adding to your freezer – but only buy food you will eat.

Here we round-up the best time to visit each supermarket to find reduced items.

Plan your meals and create a freezer stash

If you do want to be prepared then make sure you plan your meals.

Take some time to cook up food that you can freeze.

Naomi Willis, from, said: "Make a list and create a plan for the whole family.

"Batch cook by doubling up your ingredients and cook up extra that you can freeze.

How long can food be stored in the freezer?

  • Soups/sauces – 3 months 
  • Pasta – 3 months 
  • Rice – 3 months 
  • Vegetables – 10 months 
  • Nuts/seeds – 12 months 
  • Lentils – 3 months 
  • Pork – 2 months 
  • Chicken – 4 months 
  • Beef – 6 months 
  • Lamb – 6 months 
  • Fish – 6 months 
  • Meat stocks – 4 months 
  • Casseroles – 3 monthsSource: Magnet 

"Then you'll have portions you can defrost if you need them".

Make a list of items and meals in your freezer, including when they were made and when you need to use them by to ensure you don't waste any food.

Make sure items are correctly labelled to. Nobody likes to play freezer stash bingo when they defrost food.

Always ensure food is full defrosted and heated properly.

What items are supermarkets limited?

The rules vary between supermarkets. For example, Tesco is limiting items like hand sanitiser, pasta and UHT milk.

While Waitrose has limited the number of anti-bacterial wipes and hand gels to four per person.

This is so they can prevent stock running out and to prevent panic buying.

We've rounded up what supermarkets are doing here.






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