Washington. Benjamin Whiteley went to the Safeway supermarket in Washington, D.C. to buy some things for dinner. But he was disappointed to find empty vegetable shelves and a meager amount of turkey, chicken and milk. “It looks like I didn’t find anything,” said White, 67. “Now I will have to look elsewhere.”
This shortage is widespread nationwide and has affected all kinds of products, both basic necessities – meat, vegetables, milk and bread – as well as canned foods and cleaning supplies.
Consumer discontent has been repeatedly expressed on social media in recent days. It is an unprecedented scenario for stores in the United States, where the shelves of supermarkets in the largest economy in the world are usually overflowing.
Food shortages in supermarkets have worsened in recent weeks, as new problems, such as the omicron variant of the coronavirus and bad weather, have led to supply chain problems and labor shortages that have affected retailers since the coronavirus pandemic began.
US grocery stores typically have 5 to 10 percent of inventory, but that rate now hovers around 15 percent, said Jeff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association.
Some of the shortages consumers see on store shelves are due to pandemic trends that never abated and were exacerbated by the omicron variable. Americans are eating more at home than they used to, especially since offices and some schools remain closed.
The average American family spent $144 a week last year on groceries, according to the International Monetary Fund, a trade organization for grocers and food producers. This is below the 2020 high of $161, but still well above the $113.50 for families that spent it in 2019.
The truck driver shortage that started before the pandemic remains a problem. In October, the American Trucking Association said the country had lost about 80,000 drivers, a record number.
Additionally, merchandise shipments continue to be delayed, affecting everything from imported products to packaging manufactured abroad.
As with hospital, school and office staff, the omicron variant wreaked havoc on food production lines. Sean Connolly, president and CEO of Conagra Brands, which makes frozen Birds Eye vegetables, Slim Jim steak snacks and other products, told investors last week that supplies from the company’s U.S. plants will be limited at least next month due to absences. related to. for the omicron variable.
In addition, weather-related events, from snowstorms in the northeastern United States to wildfires in Colorado, have affected product availability and caused some customers to buy more than usual, exacerbating supply problems caused by the pandemic.
(With information from the editorial office)
“Future teen idol. Hardcore twitter trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble travel evangelist.”