Food shortages at your local supermarket are about to be a new normal—if they aren’t already.
“In most cases, you’re not dealing with actual food shortages but with disruptions in the supply chain,” Naville says. “When it comes to food imports, other factors come into play.
Two-thirds of the apple concentrate consumed in the United States comes from China, and a large portion of its fish catch is shipped to China to be processed and re-exported.
With Chinese ports showing a 7-day average of 206 ships waiting at ports versus 82 ships pre-COVID, logistics for such items is likely to be inconsistent too.
And with Chinese factories operating at reduced capacity because of power restrictions, supply issues for food products destined to the US market like frozen or dried vegetables used as ingredients in soups or ready meals will be impacted too.”
Are food shortages coming?
In short: Yes.
There are a number of reasons for this, and, yes, you guessed it: One of them is the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are also labor shortages and supply chain issues due to a number of other problems, including climate change affecting crops and rising energy prices worldwide.
As a result, you’re likely to see some shortages of certain food items while shopping, though supplies may vary depending on time and location.
What foods will be in short supply?
There may be a poultry shortage.
Turkey and chicken will likely specifically be in short supply, experts say.
The turkey shortage is predominantly of smaller turkeys: Many families had smaller gatherings for Thanksgiving 2020 and will likely do the same for Thanksgiving 2021, making the demand for smaller birds skyrocket above the available supply.
What’s more, the price of grain went up, making the birds that are available more expensive.
Many grocers have also noted that there’s been a chicken shortage, with Tyson Chicken pointing the finger at labor shortages in the pandemic as the primary reason.
A beef and bacon shortage may plague our plates
Where’s the beef? It may not be on your store shelves.
In June, a ransomware attack targeted one of the biggest beef suppliers in the world. As a result, beef is often still in relatively short supply at many grocery stores, as well as higher in price than ever before.
Shoppers have also reported bacon being hard to come by and increasingly expensive.
Carbonated beverages, beer, and soda may be harder to come by
You may want to savor your La Croix and Diet Coke more than ever: Power and fuel shortages in Europe and China reportedly may cause disruptions that will trickle down through numerous industries.
The energy crisis caused a fertilizer shortage, which, in turn, led to a shortage of carbon dioxide. This means there may be carbon dioxide to put bubbles in your soft drinks and that glorious foam on your beer.
There may also be aluminum shortages, meaning not just will carbonated drinks be in short supply, but canned ones may be especially scarce.
There may be a pet food shortage
According to Reuters, price hikes on ingredients like corn, soy, and meat, as well as certain oils, have led to price increases on pet food, with certain retailers like Target and Amazon actually facing pet food shortages.
Also contributing to pet food shortages is one otherwise silver lining to the pandemic: An average of 12.6% of households got a new pet between March and December 2020, leading to a higher demand for pet supplies.
Bottled water shortages may flood stores
Now might be the best time ever to invest in a water filter, because bottled water has been scarce for many shoppers.
It’s one of several items that Costco specifically has put buying limits on for customers.
This is largely due to droughts in many areas (themselves a result of climate change), as well as an overall shortage of plastic —and, of course, good old-fashioned panic-buying.
Paper towel and toilet paper shortages may be back
Hold onto your hiney, because toilet paper shortages may be a plague we can’t quite escape yet.
Costco has limited toilet paper purchases for customers, with paper towels also taking a hit. (May we suggest a bidet and/or some microfiber cloths?)
There may be a shortage of Lunchables and juice boxes
The pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the board in a number of ways, making many moms nervous at the grocery store (and potentially leaving picky-eaters hangry).
Many shoppers have noticed empty shelves where Lunchables were once stacked high, as well as shortages of juice and sports drinks, with many stores saying that the products won’t be readily available as normal until as far as 2022.
Lunchables’ parent company, Kraft Heinz, told TODAY in a statement, “Compared to 2019, nearly 2 million more households bought Kraft Heinz brands in the second quarter of 2021.
We are also seeing all-time high demand for many of our brands, including Lunchables, which in that case has been driven by proactive steps and investments in marketing and brand renovation that deliver on expectations of modern parents and kids.
As such, Lunchables is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in 5 years … We’re actively investing in our supply chains and have teams working fast and furiously so our retailers and consumers can get more of the Kraft Heinz products they love, wherever they like to shop.”
Canned food shortages may be common
Aluminum is in short supply for a lot of manufacturers, so those of you who love to stock up at Can Can Sales (we see you and we respect it) may have a tougher time this year.
In addition to aluminum shortages, there’s also simply the fact that more people are cooking at home (and, let’s be honest, doomsday prepping), thereby increasing the demand for canned food overall.
And as the demand increases and the availability of aluminum decreases, you guessed it: Canned goods will be a lot more expensive.