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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

This is why grocery stores are struggling to stock their empty shelves

Disgruntled shoppers have vented their frustration on social media over the past several days, posting photos of bare shelves on Twitter at Trader Joe’s locations, Giant Foods and Publix stores.

As the highly contagious form of the COVID-19 virus continues to sicken workers, it is creating staff shortages for critical tasks such as transportation and logistics, which in turn affects the delivery of products and the resumption of store shelves across the country. Has been doing.

Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran acknowledged that supply of products is tight during the company’s earnings call with analysts on Tuesday.

Sankaran said during the call, “I think as a business, we have all learned to manage it. We have all learned to make sure that the stores are still very presentable, giving consumers more experience.” Give me more options.”

Still, he said, Omicron has put a “little dent” on efforts to repair supply chain gaps. “We will expect more supply challenges in the next four to six weeks,” Sankaran said.

According to the National Grocers Association, grocery stores are working less than their normal workforce, and many of its members have less than 50% of their normal workforce.

“While there is a lot of food in the supply chain, we expect consumers to continue to experience sporadic disruptions in certain product categories as we have seen over the past year and a half due to continued supply and labor challenges,” said Greg Ferrara , Group Chairman and CEO.

Indeed, labor shortage pressures persist across all sectors of the food industry, said Phil Lampert, industry analyst and editor of SuperMarketGuru.com.

“From farms to food manufacturers to grocery stores, it’s across the board,” Lampert said. “During the pandemic, these works have had to implement social distancing protocols and they’re not really made for that and that has hit production.”

And as the pandemic continues, many food industry workers are choosing not to return to their low-wage jobs at all.

transportation problem

A shortage of truck drivers is slowing down the supply chain and slowing grocery stores’ ability to fill their shelves quickly.
Empty shelves at Trader Joe's on Spring Street on Saturday, January 8, 2022 in New York City.

“There is an aging workforce due to the reduction in the trucking industry,” Lampert said. “It’s really been a problem for the past several years.”

Layered on top of wider domestic transport issues is the ongoing record-high level of congestion at the country’s ports. “These two challenges are working together to create a shortage,” he said.

weather issues

At Trader Joe’s stores, over the weekend, shoppers blamed weather emergencies for delays in delivery of messages attached to empty shelves.

Most of the Midwest and Northeast have been battling severe weather and hazardous traffic conditions recently. Not only are people hoarding more groceries, higher demand levels along with transportation challenges are making it more difficult to transport goods in inclement weather, resulting in greater shortages, Lampert said.

Not to mention climate change, which is a serious and long-term threat to the food supply. “Fire and drought are damaging crops like wheat, corn and soybeans in the US and coffee crops in Brazil,” he said. “We can’t ignore it.”

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Pandemic changed our eating habits

Lampert said more and more of us have been cooking and eating at home through the pandemic, which is also contributing to the lack of grocery supplies.

“We don’t want to keep eating the same thing and trying to shift to home cooking. As we do that, we’re buying even more food products,” he said. The shortage has made it more expensive to buy food in 2022.

Grocery stores are certainly aware of empty shelves, Lampert said, and they’re trying to minimize panic buying, which only worsens the situation.

One strategy: Fanning out the products. They are doing this by rolling out both limited varieties and limited quantities of each product in an effort to prevent hoarding and increase their supply between deliveries.

“Before the pandemic you would have seen five different varieties of milk in the front row and 10 cartons deep. Now it will be five across and maybe two rows deep,” Lampert said.

— CNN’s Nathaniel Meyerson and Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this story

– An earlier version of this story misspelled the year of the picture of Trader Joe’s. It was taken in 2022.

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World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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