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Supermarket stock shortage: What’s missing from Coles and Woolworths?

Posted: 3 February 2022 5:10 pm
News
Coles Woolworths_Supplied_1800x1000

Wondering what you can and can't buy at Coles and Woolworths in your state or territory? We've got you covered with this quick guide.

There's a lot going on in Australia right now. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a source of massive disruption, and extreme weather events are wreaking even further havoc on supply chains.

In response, Australia's major supermarkets have introduced product limits to curb panic buying and deal with product shortages. Things are different from state to state, so we've put together this simple guide to let you know what to expect the next time you go to the shops or order online.

Keep in mind these are just state-wide guidelines. Any individual store you visit may have its own limits and shortages.


NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and SA

Supermarkets have slowly begun to recover from the massive product shortages seen in the past month, thanks to changes made to isolation protocols for essential workers. Despite significant flooding in northern South Australia, it's supermarkets in the Northern Territory that have been most affected (see below).

While you can still expect to see evidence of supply chain issues at your local supermarket, there are currently only a small number of nationwide product limits in place in these states.

Woolworths

  • Toilet paper: 2-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Oral analgesics: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 2-pack limit

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Select pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 1-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department

Tasmania

Tasmania is in a similar position to its mainland counterparts, with a couple of small differences.

Woolworths

  • Toilet paper: 2-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Oral analgesics: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 2-pack limit

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Select pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 1-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from the meat department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from the meat department

Northern Territory

Unfortunately, due to devastating flooding in central Australia, the supply chains leading to the Northern Territory have been severely affected. This has exacerbated concerns that already existed regarding food shortages due to rising COVID cases in the territory.

Trucks have been forced to make massive detours to deliver food, causing areas like Alice Springs to report serious shortages in meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. Coles has responded with a bevy of product limits. While Woolworths has yet to release any limits in the Territory outside of nationwide rules, there's a good chance your local Woolies will be missing some of your favourites.

Woolworths

  • Toilet paper: 2-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Oral analgesics: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 2-pack limit

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Select pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 1-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department
  • Mince: 2-pack limit
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Fresh milk: 2-bottle limit
  • Long-life milk: 4-pack limit

Western Australia

Western Australia is facing similar issues to the Northern Territory due to central Australian flooding. COVID-related supply chain issues and panic buying are also affecting supermarket shelves out west. Some of the reported product shortages include eggs and dairy products, paper towels, toilet paper, meat and pet supplies.

Here's how Woolworths and Coles have responded.

Woolworths

  • Toilet paper: 2-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Oral analgesics: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 1-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Pasta: 2-pack limit
  • Sugar: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Eggs: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen chips, gems and wedges: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen fruits: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen vegetables: 2-pack limit

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Select pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • COVID-19 RAT kits (when in stock): 1-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from the meat department or 6-fillet limit from the deli department
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Sugar: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Tissues: 2-pack limit

What to do if your supermarket is out of stock?

If your local Coles or Woolworths are out of what you need, there are a few options open to you. Essential items such as toilet paper, pain medication, milk and flour are available at most petrol stations and convenience stores.

Just be prepared to pay more than you normally would. Needless to say, the selection of brands and product types on offer will be significantly smaller.

Alternatively, you should be able to order almost anything the major supermarkets sell by shopping online. You can check out a list of handy guides for popular products below.

Can't find what you're looking for? You can also try our Food and Groceries Finder.


Which major supermarket comes out on top? Check out our Woolworths versus Coles comparison.

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