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SALT LAKE CITY — With food shortages hitting recent headlines, you may be wondering how to keep your pantry stocked. The Utah Department of Public Safety says that the best thing to do to avoid shortages is to not panic.
Spokesman Wade Mathews says it is important to avoid buying products in a scarcity mindset and to make a plan that works best for your own household.
"We saw people buying out random products quickly during the pandemic like toilet paper. To avoid this frenzy, we recommend that people really think about what they need for their personal situation and stick to that to avoid this issue," Mathews said.
Braden Norris, with the Utah Department of Public Safety, also emphasized caution about what items are perceived to be in shortage and says people should pay attention to what their specific needs are before purchasing items.
"We're not aware of any shortages affecting Utah consumers right now," Norris said.
Shortages can also be a hit-or-miss situation depending on where you live.
"One store may be out of a product while another store a few cities away may have an existing supply of that same product," Norris said.
"Demand and actual need are not the same. Shortages and even perceived shortages can increase the demand for a product," said Dan Green from the National Preparedness Division of FEMA Region Three.
Food shortages also happen through the public's reaction to fearing that an object may be scarce.
"Humans have interesting psychological responses to scarcity environments. They place the higher value on an object that is scarce. If they can't find it they only want it more," Green said.
"We have enough food to feed everyone. Sure, there are concerns over impacts from erratic weather and fallout from this tragic war in Ukraine, but we still have sufficient supplies," Fortune said.
Another great step to avoid this issue altogether is to start building a food storage and survival kit plan for your household.
"In any of these situations, we always encourage families and individuals to plan food storage in their family disaster plan," Mathews said.
A family disaster plan includes food, water and other supplies for a set amount of days.
"We consider a disaster supply kit to be a three to five days' supply of food, water and other needs, which is pretty short term but is a good place to start," Mathews said.