The recent call to stay at home to combat the spread of COVID-19 means most of us are only venturing out for the essentials. But what do you do when the essentials aren’t available?
Despite being told not to panic buy, many people in the community continue to hoard products, making some items hard to find. At first it was toilet paper and pasta, and now other essential items have become scarce, such as meat, pantry staples, and sanitary items, causing stress and anxiety amongst consumers. What we’re seeing now is the flow on effect of these product shortages. Consumers are looking for alternatives to fulfil their needs during this unprecedented and challenging time. In an age when single-use items are the norm, many people have not considered reusable alternatives to everyday products, such as pads and tampons, nappies and even coffee pods. That is, until now.
People who are suddenly in a position where they are working from home and entertaining kids full time are wanting to ensure they are well-prepared for the weeks or even months ahead where they can’t simply duck out to get what they need as they need it.
Reusable coffee pods
Kayla Mossuto, who owns and runs Crema Joe, an online store that specialises in reusable coffee pods, has already seen an influx of orders and enquiries.
"When they can’t find what they need at the supermarket, people are looking for alternative suppliers online or within their local communities, and are turning to reusable solutions in the process,” Kayla says.
The Crema Joe team, who launched their range of refillable coffee capsules in late 2014, are passionate about educating consumers on ways they can reduce waste in their everyday lives. Kayla says, “Zero Waste-ers have spent the last few years refining their lifestyles to become less dependent on single-use items, becoming more self-sufficient in the process, and what we’re noticing now is that even more consumers are seeking alternatives after being faced with empty supermarket shelves.”
Not even the tea and coffee aisle has been immune to the hysteria, with options becoming limited, especially for capsule coffee machine owners. Nespresso itself has just announced the temporary closure of its boutiques across the country in line with the government guidelines for non-essential services to close doors. The length of the closure is unknown at this stage. Kayla also adds that there has been consumer feedback that some Aldi stores have sold out of the Expressi range, leaving even less options for consumers with a K-fee machine.
In light of the new rules around social distancing, the Crema Joe team are pulling out all stops to ensure pod machine owners can continue to enjoy cafe quality espresso, whilst doing their bit by staying home. Kayla says, “We’ve been working around the clock to ensure our business is prepared for the months ahead and we can continue fulfilling orders for our complete range. This includes refillable options compatible with Nespresso (OriginalLine / VertuoLine), K-Fee, Caffitaly and Dolce Gusto machines, and not to mention our range of locally roasted coffee blends, which have always been a big hit with our customers.”
Reusable products are allowing consumers to abide by the ‘stay home’ directive without having to worry about repeat purchase or product supply. Other reusable items experiencing a spike in interest are reusable menstrual cups and underwear, cloth nappies and cloth wipes. These products have been slowly gaining traction in recent years but are now suddenly high in demand.
Leanne from Baby Beehinds says, “Over the past three weeks, we’ve seen a huge surge of new customers to the reusable nappy world. With panic setting in that customers cannot be guaranteed to find disposable nappies in the supermarkets, they are turning to reusable nappies as a backup. We’ve had great customer feedback, so we are confident that we will have a new generation of parents keen to join the cloth nappy bandwagon for the short and long term, which is fantastic for their babies and our planet.” “It’s a one-time purchase for a set of cloth nappies that can serve a family through multiple years and multiple children,” Leanne explains.
Reusable menstrual products
Robyn, Founder of The Hello Cup Menstrual Cups, has also noticed a shift in consumer behaviour. “People are understandably stressed and single-use products, such as tampons and pads, are one of the things that people are panic buying and are now in short supply. While most people are aware of menstrual cups, people definitely seem to be rethinking whether they need to give them a go. We’ve also noticed a huge increase in social media posts from current menstrual cup users suggesting that people make the switch,” Robyn says. A single reusable menstrual cup can last for around 5 years, a solution that could certainly help to alleviate stress for those worried about whether they will be able to manage their period in a lockdown situation.
Kayla reflects, “During this trying time, we urge people to work together and stay positive. There is no need to panic buy, however we certainly hope that the switch to reusable is a permanent one.” Reusable products from brands like Baby Beehinds, The Hello Cup, and Crema Joe can be ordered online, are simple to integrate into everyday habits, and due to the high quality, these products last years or even longer, saving consumers hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.
While there is no doubt that this is going to be a challenging time as we all face an extended period in social isolation, it is an opportunity for us to collectively re-group and be more mindful in the way we consume. Kayla adds, “We are all in this together – this is a time to slow down and regenerate. Hopefully we’ll come out of this with stronger communities, and make new choices that will improve our lifestyle, and maybe even benefit the future of our planet.”
Our coffee capsule users are now helping to save over 11.5 million pods from landfill yearly, and we hope you will join the sustainable coffee pod movement too!