PHOENIX — We’ve all seen the pictures and stories of empty shelves and long lines at grocery stores. However, those long lines and missing goods are not a reason to fear, according to an industry expert. 

"I do think that is the key. If they stop panicking and buy what they need for a two-week period, we will be able to catch up and get the stores to catch up," said Mark Miller with the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance

The key, according to Miller, is to make sure folks do not panic buy and hoard groceries.

"Just takes it from the next person," Miller said. 

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When shelves are emptied by those who are overbuying, it can leave those lower on the socioeconomic scale without the ability to buy needed groceries. 

Miller said while the stocks of certain items are running low, they can be replenished. 

According to Miller, grocery chains usually keep about a 30-day supply at warehouses around the Valley, sometimes a little less for perishable goods. 

“When the buying spree hit that, it hits that 30 days and reduces it quickly,” Miller said. 

The buying spree may have made some items, like toilet paper, out of stock for a while. However, there has not been a disruption in producing any of those goods, and they can be replaced. 

Chains are hiring more workers to better handle the increased demand. New federal rules are allowing nighttime deliveries of stock all aimed at keeping the grocery stores stocked. 

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Miller said the shelves of grocery stores should be able to be filled up again, as long as people do not continue to buy supplies like they are preparing for months to not visit a grocery store. 

"If this overbuying and hoarding continues, it will be tough for us to get ahead of this," Miller said. 

Miller said the state will be able to replace goods like meats, cheeses and eggs pretty quickly because much of it is locally sourced. 

It may take a little more time to get other items that do not have a local source, such as cleaning supplies. 

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