Given the current state of affairs related to coronavirus, there are indications that show people beginning to purchase basic food to prepare for the worst.
Most people show mistrust or uncertainty about the food industry. Consumption seems to be growing to the detriment of restaurants and in favour of non-perishable or more durable products, like pasta, oil, cookies, rice, preserves and frozen foods.
Concern about the increase of people infected with coronavirus has led to the issuance of statements recommending “not to be alarmed” requests for companies and people in general to only consider scientific and epidemiological information as the basis to make decisions.
That is, people should not trivialize nor panic. We live two parallel realities: that of the real effects of the virus and that of the chain reaction for each measure taken.
In most countries, the distribution and sale of food products are still being considered as normal. A call has been made to keep calm as authorities remind people that food supplies are guaranteed.
Customers are making their purchases on a regular basis. Beyond the increase in some hygienic product, such as hand sanitizer, sales are normal.
In most countries, food distribution companies established protocols and, by obligation and responsibility, most of them are in contact with health authorities to follow the instructions and recommendations that they determine at all times.
In terms of what is available in supermarket shelves, for example, sources add that although there may be some particular affectation in some stores, in no case it is a general situation.
At the same time, the most varied assortment of shopping lists have begun to circulate on the Internet to deal with possible quarantines at home.
Virologist Ian Mackay, associate professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, has recommended, for example, that a “pandemic stash” be made in case the situation worsens and hinders access to fresh food.
Mackay has advised purchasing cereals, grains, beans, lentils, pasta, canned fish, oil, spices and nuts, among other products.
In Germany, a week ago Stern magazine published an article with a headline that translates to “Even Without Coronavirus: You should always have these emergency supplies at home”.
The report explains that neither in Italy nor in Germany have the authorities recommended hoarding food so as not to encourage unwarranted alarmism in the face of this health crisis.
But it notes that the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Assistance in Cases of Catastrophe in Germany recommends having a 10-day emergency reserve in order to prepare for eventual natural disasters or prolonged cuts in supplies.
Among the foods detailed for each adult for that almost week and a half are: 20 litres of water; 3.5 kilos of cereals, bread, potatoes, noodles and rice; 4 of vegetables and legumes; 2.5 of long-lasting fruits such as apples; 2.6 of milk and dairy products; 1.5 of meat and fish -particularly, canned and sausages, since it is contemplated that refrigerators and freezers may stop working after a natural disaster; whole egg powder and 357 grams of fats and oils. The list also includes salt, spices, sugar and flour.
Meanwhile, vegetarians must include 3.3 kilos of carbohydrates per person such as whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, oat flakes and potatoes; 4 of vegetables like canned green beans, peas, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, in addition to fresh onions; 2.5 of fruit like apples or, instead, bananas, fresh oranges or pears, canned pears, cherries, pineapples, etc .; raisins; hazelnuts and dried fruits; 1.1 kilos of eggs and meat substitute products such as tofu, vegetarian sausages, and 330 grams of spreadable oils and fats such as margarine, peanut butter, etc.
Italy has lived through a quarantine situation without the authorities being able to avoid the misinformation and the hoaxes that led some citizens to rush into supermarkets in anticipation of long quarantines, even hitting themselves with packages of pasta.
Videos uploaded to social networks by Internet users illustrate these “panic purchases” and the profusion of empty shelves in some supermarkets in the north of the country.
However, over time these behaviors have subsided, especially, according to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, after verifying the proper functioning of “safe corridors” or “sterile corridors” that allow groceries, supermarkets and pharmacies to be supplied through police-controlled security routes that providers can circulate while being equipped with protective masks and gloves.
People must prioritize canned vegetables and legumes. Most households must have enough reserves to spend a week or two at home with virtually no need to buy additional products.
In any case, it is always a good idea to freeze broccoli, since it has an appreciable amount of vitamin C and a long shelf life, green beans, red peppers, greens, carrots and peas, for example.
Although it is not the same to have to prepare for a snowstorm than for a health quarantine, in general, it is about prioritizing non-perishable foods that have nutritional value: from cereals and dried legumes, as they can last for months –even years–, to dried fruit, like dates, dried apricots, raisins and others including canned vegetables.
The following foods and amounts could be suitable for nourishment during the time of a sanitary quarantine or preventive isolation:
Rice, pasta, corn, oat flakes or muesli, crispbread or bread. You can include potato or sweet potato and prepare them cooked, in a salad, with milk or yoghurt in the case of muesli or oatmeal or to make sandwiches. We should calculate 240-320 grams per day, weighed raw.
Dry or canned, to prepare hummus, hamburgers, salads or stews. 60 grams a day raw, double if cooked to take 1 serving a day or 3-4 a week.
Meats, fish and eggs
Dried meats, canned fish, meat or fresh fish to freeze. To be used in sandwiches, stews, grilled … and eggs. Get 100-250 grams a day to meet the recommendation of 1 to 2 daily servings of 100 to 125 grams.
Whole milk and plain yoghurt. Between 400-750 grams a day to reach 2 or 3 servings a day of between 200 and 250 grams.
30-50 millilitres per day to cover 3-5 servings/day, at a rate of 10 millilitres per serving.
Nuts, of any type, roasted, raw or in creams (peanut butter) and seeds. 25-60 grams per day (1-2 servings/day of 25-30 grams each).
Canned, dehydrated, fresh like carrots, lettuce, tomato, zucchini, squash, broccoli, in creams, purees, sauteed, baked … Add 400 grams per day and adult (2 rations of 200 grams each).
Dried, in syrup or fresh (apple, banana, apple, orange), between 350-600 grams a day to take at least 3 daily servings of between 150 and 200 grams each.
Dieticians also recommend dark chocolate, broths, salt, nutritional yeast and protein energy bars.