Problems with the supply chain in the United States are causing disruptions in the delivery of food and other items, and consumers are now tending to hoard in their purchases.
“People are hoarding,” said frozen and preserved foods producer Adnan Durrani, according to the Oct. 19 Seattle Times, as food shortages soared in the country yesterday.
Durrani also explained that they changed procurement habits and are “keeping about four months’ supply on hand instead of the typical one or two months,” which to some extent increases shortages.
In this regard, several food producers and distributors recounted their experiences and how they were adapting in the face of supply constraints in the stores.
“I never imagined that we’d be here in October 2021 talking about supply-chain problems, but it’s a reality,” said Albertsons Cos CEO. Vivek Sankaran, adding, “On any given day, there’s going to be something missing in our stores, and it’s across all categories.”
In fact, even schools have had to adapt their strategies to cater to feed students.
“Since the start of school, we’ve had problems with the supply chain for different items,” said Denver Public Schools Food Services Executive Director Theresa Hafner, adding, “It keeps popping up. It’s like playing a game of roulette.”
For his part, National Grocers Association Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Counsel Chris Jones described his perception of the situation.
“There is a lot of food in the supply chain, but some items may be harder to get at certain times due to labor shortages across the country affecting manufacturers, shippers and retailers,” Jones said.
He also mentioned that poor enforcement of antitrust laws had led to differences among retail distributors.
This situation “has allowed dominant retailers to secure more favorable terms and ample supply of high-demand products, while leaving many smaller retailers with limited selections or, in some cases, empty shelves,” Jones added.
The impact of shortages of some foods such as chicken is also noticeable among individual consumers, as many replaced fast-food meals with home-cooked meals.
Another effect of the chicken shortage was the change of menus in some restaurants and price increases in stores.
Even diaper prices increased, reflecting higher raw material prices, shipping delays, and container shortages, according to Business Insider, cited by Bloomberg.
On the other hand, 100 ships were waiting off the coast of Los Angeles on Oct. 19 to unload their products, which could be as much as two weeks away.
“Challenges in the supply chain continue to be issues such as driver shortages, labor and congestion at the ports,” explained supply chain director Yone Dewberry.