Grocery stores still haven’t returned to normal, according to the Food Industry Association. Prices are still high and it’s causing shelves to remain empty and meals at restaurants to be higher in price or removed from the menu.
The issue with the grocery chain suffering is that the items out of stock remain inconsistent and regional. One week a shopper may find canned corn and the next it may be out. What shoppers can find in New York, people may not see for weeks or months in California.
It also is effected by what’s popular regionally. What shoppers cook with and often use in California, New Yorkers may not eat at all. It’s hard to build a grocery list around things that may or may not be completely out of stock from one week to the next.
FMI reports that the supply chain is snarled at every point. Shortages may be related to not enough materials, ingredients, equipment, or shipping by truck. A product could be impacted by one or all of these things. Weather impacts produce and things grown in the U.S. as well. If a wildfire ruins crops, they can’t be sold or are in high demand due to the low supply.
Products and ingredients needed from other countries that suffer as well may be facing labor shortages to produce what the U.S. needs or the shipping can’t be completed.
People are still purchasing in bulk the way they began to out of fear when the pandemic began, causing greater demand for supplies.
Before the pandemic, FMI reports that people spent $113.50 on average in 2019 for groceries. In 2020 the average became $161, partially because people stopped going out to eat and ate at home. Now, the average has dropped to $143 per week, still higher than the average pre-pandemic.
The way people live their lives is impacting grocery sales as well. People are still choosing to eat out less, as well as working from home. This is causing more people to eat at home for lunch and dinner. They need to buy more groceries to supplement their choices.
The supply of groceries likely won’t return to normal until closer to the end of 2022, and the best way around this until then is to purchase groceries early.
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