Are you wondering why there is still a shortage of toilet paper? When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit I am sure there was a fair amount of hoarding. But that was over two months ago. When you go to the grocery store you still see limited supplies of toilet paper. Well, I was reading a daily marketing news letter I get emailed to me called the Van Trump Report. It talks about the ag, energy and financial markets but also timely and interesting topics.

There was an article today on why there are still toilet paper shortages. It is not because of hoarding! The shortages are due to the COVID-19 pandemic and people staying at home because of the "Shelter in Place Orders." Here is the key point, not all toilet paper is the same. Toilet paper used at home is different than "commercial" toilet paper used in business, offices, restaurants and other public rest rooms.

Commercial toilet paper is one-ply while what we buy in the grocery store is two-ply. Because people are staying at home demand for domestic toilet paper has increased 40 percent while commercial demand has decreased sharply. Here is the problem. Paper mills are highly specialized multi-billion dollar investments that typically run at maximum capacity 24 hours a day.

It is not easy to convert a mill from one form of paper to another. It would take many months and cost millions of dollars. Plus commercial toilet paper is packaged in very large quantities while most toilet paper bought in the grocery store is in packs of 4 to 24 rolls. This also limits the ability of a mill to shift from commercial to home or domestic.

I think it is safe to predict very few homes will be toilet papered by pranksters anytime soon? Plus, if it does happen there will be lots of neighbors willing to help clean it up, at least until it rains!


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