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This Is How Long You Can Expect Shortages to Last at Your Local Grocery Store

Pro tip: buy what you need when you see it at the store.
FACT CHECKED BY Joseph Neese

Toilet paper isn't just hard to find inside your local grocery store right now. One major retailer recently told customers who purchased this pantry essential online to expect delays in processing their orders.

In both brick-and-mortar and online stores, there are shortages of household staples from bottled water to ground beef. Not even the nation's largest chains like Costco and Walmart are exempt.

Related: Walmart Is Limiting How Much Toilet Paper You Can Buy Amid a National Shortage

Nearly two years into the global pandemic, you may be wondering exactly how long these shortages will last. According to a new report from CNN, "grocery store shelves aren't going back to normal this year."

meat shortage
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The news outlet viewed emails from food manufacturers and suppliers, which revealed that limited quantities of popular grocery items would be available through the holidays. Per CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn:

"Many of the country's biggest food makers are telling grocers that they will have limited quantities of a number of their products—including items such as Rice Krispies Treats, Sour Patch Kids, some Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors, McCormick gourmet spices, and Marie Callender's pot pies—because of labor, commodity, and transportation constraints throttling supply chains, according to emails viewed by CNN and interviews with grocers. Some suppliers are also telling grocers to cancel their promotions of these items and more over the holidays so products won't disappear from store shelves as quickly."

Knowing this, shopping early is the best way to ensure that you have everything you need for your family's holiday feast. Consider buying your turkey in advance and freezing it. When the big day comes, follow our 5 Tips for How to Properly Thaw a Frozen Turkey.

Hopefully, shortages will become a thing of the past sooner rather than later. After all, Chieh Huang, CEO of online bulk retailer Boxed, told CNN that "the industry is better off than we were this time last year."

Speaking of bulk retailers, Costco is already taking action to avert empty shelves next year. The warehouse chain recently announced that it had chartered three shipping vessels to carry containers between Asia and the U.S. and Canada, CFO Richard Galanti said in an earnings call with investors. The ships, which can transport between 800 to 1,000 containers at a time, are slated to make 10 deliveries over the course of the year.

The ship rentals—combined with efforts to order as much as it can get of items like holiday toys and appliances and getting them in earlier—are helping Costco avoid not only empty shelves but also raising prices amid a variety of "inflationary pressures."

And for on what's happening at your local grocery store, check out:

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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