These days we are all too familiar with the concept of panic buying.

We have seen it with toilet rolls, tins of tomatoes, ice creams and more.

But some of our older readers will remember a time when procedures were in place to stop this from happening.

It all began in much darker days, when both the residents of Hampshire and the entire nation found themselves ensnared in the ghastly clutches of the Second World War.

Not long before the outbreak of conflict, Britain relied on importing 70 percent of its total food supply. A year later this figure significantly decreased to 25 percent.

As the outbreak of the war loomed closer, Britain found itself heavily reliant on importing 70 percent of its food supply. However, within a year, they were forced to drastically decrease the imports to 25 percent.

This significant shift was attributed to the relentless attacks by German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic, aimed to weaken Britain through the destruction of merchant ships and subsequent starvation.

In response to shortages, rationing was implemented in 1939 to allocate petrol fairly, followed by food rationing in early 1940 to ensure equitable distribution among the population.

Concerned with potential panic buying and the ensuing scarcity of essential items, the government feared that those in need would be deprived if prices surged due to limited supply.

Daily Echo:

On January 8, 1940, The Daily Echo covered the implementation of rationing for butter, sugar, bacon, and ham, highlighting the impact on households across the country.

That morning, amid the hustle and bustle of war-time Southampton, the Food Office in New Road stood out as a hub of activity. Anticipating the forthcoming meat rationing, the office braced itself to manage an influx of millions of coupons on a monthly basis.

In Southampton, around 200,000 individuals were enrolled, a significant number given the city's decreased population during that period. This likely indicated a preference among those residing outside the borough to register within Southampton.

Daily Echo:

A total of 2,200 shops, with 200 among them being butchers, were officially registered to sell rationed goods.

Customers were explicitly instructed to bring their ration books along for any purchases of these items. It was emphasized that coupons could not be carried over to future weeks.

In the subsequent months, limitations on sales were expanded to encompass a range of additional items such as tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, lard, milk, and canned as well as dried fruit.

Daily Echo:

A system of rationing was implemented for clothing on June 1, 1941. This measure was not solely due to decreased imports, but also because the clothing industry shifted its focus to manufacturing parachutes and uniforms.

The Daily Echo frequently featured advertisements for a range of products during wartime, frequently tackling the topic of rationing head-on.

A notice for Fry’s Cocoa claimed people could boost their nourishment and energy levels by having it with their limited milk supply.

Daily Echo:

Bovril adverts appeared on a regular basis - each with the slogan “Bovril - keeps you going.” Along with the slogans ran an image, including one of a lady welding depth charge casings and one of a lady sewing parachutes.

“Damage by moths may cause you to lose all your clothes coupons in replacing your losses,” read an advert for Mothaks - a product designed to keep moths at bay.

There were other items which weren’t rationed at the time which enjoyed plenty of advertising space.

Daily Echo:

Numerous producers of flu tonics and soups were regular advertisers, as were OXO and MacLeans.

One bizarre OXO advert recommended it with hot milk - sounding like the perfect way to ruin two rationed products.

One of the last adverts to feature from the days of rationing was on July 3, 1954 - the day before restrictions on meat were lifted.

Daily Echo:

The notice was for Vernon and Tear Ltd, an Above Bar butchers who traded in all manner of fresh foods.

“Meat rationing ends tonight. The foundation of our business was built pre-war on good quality meat at a fair price.

“It is now our earnest desire to continue where we left off in 1939 with meat you can eat at competitive prices.”