DETECTOR RUMORS / At the beginning of the containment, it was the mad race to build reserves of toilet paper. And although it has been said many times that the province of Quebec did not fear a shortage of this white gold, the store shelves are often empty, still today, notes the Detector of rumors.
In Canada, the major manufacturers of toilet paper are two paper mills in quebec, Cascades and Kruger. The division of Kruger Products manufactures particular paper brands Cashmere and White Swan, and produces six million rolls of paper per day, about one-third of all the toilet paper consumed in Canada.
In one case as in the other, the two mills were said to be amply able to meet the demand. “To date, our operations have not been disrupted significantly by the pandemic, and our facilities continue to operate at full capacity, in spite of the challenges posed by the current situation “, one can read on the home page of the Web site of Waterfalls.
About Kruger Products, its vice-president and director of consumer products, Michel Manseau, explains that the factories rolling seven days per week, and 24 h on 24, to provide more products and maintain a steady supply. “We just have to adapt to this strong demand for our products,” he says. Kruger has long since developed protocols for pandemic to respond to a sudden increase in demand of hygiene products, such as this particular product during the pandemics of SARS and H1N1. “Our raw material comes mainly from here, and also South America. We had reservations, ” said Mr. Manseau. The company is now on the road up to 300 trucks per day to supply retailers in toilet paper rolls.
But if there has been a shortage in the supermarkets at the beginning of the containment, this is not only because of compulsive shopping. It is also because the industry was not ready to rapid increases in the demand of the domestic consumption, which represents only one of its two axes of production.
Personal use versus commercial
When we speak of toilet paper, in fact, there is a unknown reality : there are two types of paper, each with its chain of production. One is for the rollers that go in the houses and the other, to those who take the path of businesses, offices, shops and restaurants. However, at this time, these are the toilets of the homes that are far more widely used, which causes an increase in the demand for one of the two products. According to an article of the magazine Vox, from the beginning of the pandemic, the Americans in confinement have used up to 40% more toilet paper than usual at home.
But to realize such a change in supply is not a simple one, told the journalist Will Oremus at the beginning of April in the online magazine Marker : the two products differ by their size, their method of manufacture and their packaging. In addition, such a change involves new relationships with suppliers, new routes, new distributors. Which would explain, according to the journalist, why do some supermarkets in the United States were indeed struggling to fill their shelves.
Kruger confirms the existence of two ranges of products in its factories, but not the difficulty to meet the demand. “We make products for the commercial market and for the domestic market. So we had to adjust the production, to rebalance the commercial products to those of consumption. “Mr. Manseau says that domestic demand for toilet paper has increased to 80% with the pandemic among its customers in Canada. As for enterprises, they disinfect more than usual, so always use paper products to do this, but rather, table napkins of paper of which the demand has dropped, since most of the restaurants are closed.
All the companies expect that the demand is less pressing when it comes out of the containment, the amount of time that consumers use their reserves… unless you continue to apply what american psychologists call the bias a ” zero risk “, a psychological effect linked to control : we want to build reserves because it gives us the illusion of control over a situation, in the more global context of a crisis, it plunges us into uncertainty.