Food and supply shortages at grocery stores

Multiple consumer industries continue to face shortages because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some stores are re-instituting limits on items that can be purchased at one time, like toilet paper, causing some people to flashback to the beginning of the pandemic.

It’s not just groceries, but everything from new cars to furniture and appliances that have months-long waiting lists.

“I’m an insurance agent and I have people who need appliances and they can’t get them — they’re just sitting off the coast of California,” said Claire Lugo.

Publix said this about those hard to find items:

“The industry continues to face shortages during the pandemic, and those shortages on product and packaging may vary week to week. In some instances, suppliers have discontinued multiple varieties to concentrate on their best selling items (SKU optimization) to meet demand,” according to director of communications Maria Brous.

Professors of supply chain management said there are multiple reasons for the shortages.

“Some is (sic) due to disruption to the plastics industry in the US. The winter storms knocked out power in Texas, then we started getting storms in the Gulf area,” said Dr. David Manachof of Florida Atlantic University. “So we are dependent on factories in China and some of them shut down during COVID with their own outbreaks, and then container shipping delays out on the West coast – ports had 70 ships lined up.”

Some big box stores, like Costco, are starting to limit the amount of certain items like paper goods you can buy, not necessarily because there is a shortage, but they anticipate higher demand as people get nervous about shortages.

And speaking of high demand, FIU professor Andrea Patrucco says that might affect your holiday turkey.

“I foresee that if you would like to have a good turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you better plan in advance. There may be a shortage. You better look at a plan B,” said Patrucco.

Both professors said shortages will likely continue until the end of 2022, but to be flexible if you can’t find something at one store. Keep trying — someone is likely to have it.