More food, cleaning supplies on the way, economic experts say

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SAN DIEGO – At a time when grocery store lines are long and shelves are empty, Bobby Brannigan says he has hope.

“I think people need to remain calm right now,” the creator of grocery store delivery app Mercado said. “There’s plenty of product in independent grocery stores.”

Brannigan’s app connects independent grocery stores to people’s homes via delivery. In the past two weeks, he said business has gone up 5,000%.

“Yesterday we launched 20 new stores in a day,” he said. “These independent stores are very nimble. They know the person getting the product from the market. They can make a phone call and get the product.”

At the moment, delivery times for his app are about two or three days out.

“I think our farmers will continue to produce and food will continue to be processed,” said Alan Gin, economics professor at University of San Diego.

The United States is one of the biggest producers of agriculture in the world — and even though borders are closing, trade remains open to foreign companies. He thinks overall, we’ll see product showing up on shelves again in the coming weeks.

“I think this initial panic has got people to store up,” he said. “I think in a couple weeks, people will still be worried, but they got all these supplies so they won’t be buying.

Food supplies originally intended for universities, cruise lines and restaurants could end up in grocery stores too, Gin said.

From a national standpoint, CleanWell, a distributor for household cleaning supplies including hand sanitizer, said it’s in overdrive to produce additional product. In an effort to reassure customers, the company said it “expects to sell inventory originally expected to last until August by the end of March – essentially shipping six months of product in one month.”

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