If you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you might have noticed how it feels a bit…empty. If you don’t get there early enough, eggs, meat, milk, and pretty much everything else, is gone within hours. And don’t get me started with the rising costs of eggs these days (which I'm sure we’re all very familiar with).
The reason for this is due to recent supply chain shortages. Put simply, supply chains are facing disruption because of labor shortages, rising fuel costs, and inflation. Another big catalyst to the shortage was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which greatly disrupted the supply chains in Europe.
So, before your next grocery run, here are 11 grocery store items to keep an eye out for before prices rise too high.
Food Items to Look Out For
Here are a couple of the staple food items that are in short supply as of late.
Although most items in the dairy section aren’t experiencing a huge shortage anymore, eggs are still victim to the shortage, and as a result have seen a huge price increase. The reason why eggs specifically are benign affected is due to the severe outbreak of avian flu, that is wiping out the worldwide poultry supply and causing people to be wary of buying from foreign markets.
One food shortage that I've been hearing a lot of complaints about is sriracha. This hot sauce is low in stock due to a poor harvest of chile peppers in Thailand last year. So if you’re a die-hard fan of Huy Fong’s sriracha, get your hands on it now! Another tip is to buy a couple bottles and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh for up to 2 years after opening. Another option is to try other hot sauce variations, or try to make your own DIY substitute concoction.
This one is tough to handle, but yes, champagne is also a major product being affected by the supply chain shortages. The shortage began in the early part of 2022 because of a drought that affected the crop, and it was worsened by a shortage in glass bottles, corks, and labels, which of course are a direct complement to champagne. According to experts, there will still be champagne available for the drinking, but certain brands will be more expensive and scarce. However, if you are a fan of sparkling wine, the supply situation is expected to improve once the seasonal demand dies down
A huge portion of the United States relies on lettuce, especially in the winter and fall. Lettuce used by the US is usually grown and shipped from the Salinas Valley in California, but this year, there was a huge hit to the crop. The reason why lettuce was so greatly affected was due to a virus called the necrotic spot virus, or INSV, that destroyed up to 75% of the iceberg and romaine lettuce supply. This led to a whopping 400% increase in the prices of lettuce. So, if you see a sale on lettuce, you should probably jump on it.
As we mentioned earlier with the shortage of eggs, other poultry items have also been affected by the shortages. Poultry production has seen a huge incline due to the avian flu, which is a strain of the influenza virus that primarily affects birds. Over 43 million egg-laying hens were lost due to the avian flu by the end of December since the outbreak began in February 2022, according to the US department of Agriculture. Although the avian flu is the main cause of poultry shortages, another factor is the labor shortages on supply chains.
Personal Items to Look Out For
Not only are there food shortages, but there are crucial personal care items that are low in stock too.
The shortage of baby formula was a significant issue in recent years, caused by plant closures that severely impacted the nationwide distribution of formula. Although most of the supply chain problems have been resolved, parents are still facing difficulties in finding baby formula because retailers are limiting the amount that can be bought by each customer, in order to prevent hoarding, which was a significant issue in past years when the shortage was more severe.
This shortage is probably one of the scariest to a lot of people nationwide. The lack of commonly prescribed medicines like antibiotics, ADHD medications, antivirals, and others, are primarily due to a surge in demand. The reason that demand is at an all time high is because of population growth, the aging of population, and increased number of prescribers. While you might not be able to stock up on medication, you might want to monitor your pill inventory more closely and schedule additional time for prescription refills at the pharmacy.
In conclusion, due to the recent supply chain shortages, grocery stores have seen a huge decrease of supply in staple food and personal products from eggs, lettuce and sriracha, to baby formula and prescription meds. It is important to be aware of these shortages, and look out for these items next time you go to the grocery store!