8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply Again
While the grocery supply chain seems to be back to normal, some experts are warning we may be headed for a second rush of grocery hoarding. This is especially the case in parts of the country where coronavirus cases are surging and business shutdowns are likely to last for a while.
During the first grocery hoarding wave in March and April, items like flour, toilet paper, and meat were highly sought-after, and supplies dwindled as a result. Here are the grocery items that may soon be in short supply again.
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Canned Beer and Soda
The average consumer would have been blissfully unaware of the shortage of aluminum cans, had it not caused the shortage of some types of Cokes and beer. The aluminum industry and the beverage can manufacturers are experiencing a high demand for their products, largely stemming from people's homebound lifestyles. Companies like Coca-Cola are dealing with the short supply of cans by shelving the production of some less popular items, like Minute Maid Light Lemonade and Mr. Pibb, to give priority to beverages most in demand, like Coke. While the industry figures out the new pressures on their supply chain, we can expect to have a harder time finding some canned beverages in stores.
Various types of disinfectants, whether for topical use or for home cleaning, have been in short supply since the pandemic started. And it seems like this trend will continue for much of this year. Clorox CEO Benno Dorer just announced that the trusty EPA-approved Clorox wipes won't be fully restocked until 2021, while The New York Times reports Lysol wipes are hard to find, too. It's safe to assume these highly sought-after items will likely get hoarded again the second they're back in stock.
Some Cuts of Meat
The meat industry has had its vulnerabilities exposed during the pandemic, with a number of major meat packers experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 infections among their employees. Tyson Foods, the world's second-largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork, has had a staggering 10,000 employees infected with coronavirus, causing major disruption in their operations. The country's largest pork producer, Smithfield, had closed down their facility and warned of major, lasting meat shortages earlier this year. And sure enough, the first wave of meat shortages forced some fast food chains to temporarily suspend their burgers and grocery stores were limiting meat purchases. While the situation doesn't currently seem to be as dire, grocery stores are still experiencing shortages of certain cuts of meat, which could last for the foreseeable future.
Flour was a hot commodity during the pandemic. Because of a surge in home baking, popular brands like King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill had a hard time keeping their flours in stock. And while the demand is slightly waning due to a change in eating habits during summer, an increase in baking in the fall and around the holidays might put us right back into a flour shortage. If there's a brand of flour you particularly like, stock up on it now while the supply chain is coming up for air.
Cheese was another grocery staple that people just couldn't get enough of while quarantining, a demand which raised its wholesale prices to record levels in June. The supplies of cheese in grocery stores are currently stable, but buying it may soon become cost prohibitive for many, especially if another wave of the pandemic kicks us into a hoarding frenzy. Aged cheeses are at an increased risk of becoming expensive, since the production process is lengthier and more complicated.
Your Favorite Pantry and Snack Items
From canned soups to frozen dinners, there's a significant decrease in the variety of your favorite pantry staples. Major food companies like PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz, Amy's Kitchen, General Mills, and Coca-Cola have decided to retire some of their products during the pandemic to ensure a steady supply of their strongest best-sellers. Expect to find fewer flavors and varieties of Progresso Soups, Frito-Lay snacks, and Cheerios going forward.
Toilet paper is no longer difficult to come by, but it's safe to say this is a high-risk pandemic item—if we were to experience another lockdown in a few months, we'd be right back where we were in March in terms of TP shortages. On the other hand, while you may be able to find it in stores right now, you might have to settle for the kind made for commercial customers, as opposed to the really good soft stuff, as grocery stores are experimenting with new suppliers.
While not exactly a grocery item, coins, or rather a lack of them, can definitely impact your shopping trip. And we are currently in the midst of a coin shortage, which has been attributed to the closure of coin-circulating businesses like coffee shops, laundromats, and other smaller retailers. The situation has become serious enough for the Federal Reserve to create a Coin Task Force, which will work to figure out how to solve pandemic-related coin shortages. In the meantime, grocery stores like Kroger are finding creative ways to get by without coins, like giving out change in credit that can be applied to future orders.