#Emptyshelvesjoe Continues As Supermarkets Lack Basic Groceries

Written By BlabberBuzz | Monday, 17 January 2022 22:45
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According to reports, a combination of labor shortages, shipping costs, and cold weather has left grocery store shelves bare across the country.

According to Reuters, producer growers on the West Coast are paying nearly triple trucking rates.

On the East Coast, snow and ice storms have created massive food delivery delays.

Just ahead of Christmas, President Biden boasted that he had averted the supply-chain crisis: “The much-predicted crisis didn’t occur. Packages are moving. Gifts are being delivered. Shelves are not empty.” And White House chief of staff Ron Klain called the supply-chain crisis “an overhyped narrative.” Regardless, grocery stores and other retailers face a 12 percent out-of-stock level on many household staples, compared to 7-10 percent in regular times.

Compounding the problem is inflation. The rate leaped 7 percent since December 2020, according to CBS News.

Birds Eye frozen vegetable maker Conagra Brands’ CEO Sean Connolly told investors its supplies might be hampered for at least a month due to too many sick workers.

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“It’s just random things, things I just wouldn’t even think of. Today there were no potatoes, not a lot of meat,” said a father shopping at Kroger.

With the holidays over, many told CBS46 they thought things might look a little better, but still empty shelves persist.

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CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy checked out Publix, which was nearly depleted of toilet paper and salad mixes.

Over at Kroger, certain vegetables and kids’ juice were mainly out of stock.

CBS reported that empty shelves were seen around at least two different Fred Meyer stores in Oregon this weekend, along with signs posted that read, ‘Severe weather has caused shipping issues, these items are temporarily out of stock.’ Eggs, yogurt and milk were just a few of the items in short supply.

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The problem is not isolated to production. For example, Costco has imposed purchase limits on toilet paper at some stores in Washington state.

Katie Denis, Vice President of communications and research at the Consumer Brands Association, blames the shortages on lack of labor and expects the situation to continue for at least a few more weeks.

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She revealed the industry is missing around 120,000 workers, while the National Grocers Association said many grocery stores were operating at less than 50 percent workforce capacity.

Thomas Goldsby researches shortages, like this one, for the University of Tennessee. As a supply chain management expert, he said every category is getting affected, not just cereal or other products. ‘We’ve been pretty hampered by cold weather and snow, but also those tornadoes that struck back in December have limited our ability to meet our needs too,’ said Goldsby. The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association President, Rob Ikard, said it’s been a tough couple of weeks.

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