Benjamin Whitely went to the Safeway store in Washington DC on Tuesday to pick up some dinner items. But she was disappointed to find barrels of fruitless vegetables and a limited selection of turkey, chicken and milk.
“Looks like I missed everything,” said Whitely, 67. “I have to look for things now.”
Shortages in retail space in the US have intensified in recent weeks as new problems – such as strong omicron outbreaks and bad weather – continue to plague the economy and job losses that have plagued retailers since the coronavirus epidemic broke out.
This shortage is widespread, affecting crops and meat as well as packet goods such as maize. And it is being told to the whole world. U.S. purchases typically account for 5% to 10% of their total expiration date; at present, the non-existent rate is around 15%, according to the President of the Consumer Brands Association and CEO Geoff Freeman.
One of the needs of consumers to see on store shelves is due to unresolved epidemics – and magnified by omicron. Americans are eating at home more than ever, especially since some offices and schools are closed.
Many U.S. people spent $ 144 a week at a grocery store last year, according to FMI, a food and food retailer. This was down from a peak of $ 161 in 2020, yet more than the $ 113.50 that families spent in 2019.
The shortage of truck drivers who started construction before the epidemic is also a problem. The American Trucking Associations reported in October that the US had fewer than 80,000 passengers, a record high.
And shipping is delayed, affecting everything from food shipments to packages that are printed abroad.
Food retailers and manufacturers have been changing to meet this trend since early 2020, when fears of a pre-epidemic purchasing epidemic led to the business collapse. Many retailers are stockpiling items such as toilet paper in hand, for example, to avoid excessive demand.
“All the players in the ecosystem have reached the point where they have a game book and are able to deal with the challenges that arose,” said Jessica Dankert, vice president of corporate marketing at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. business group.
Usually, the system works; Dankert says the empty shelves have been in short supply in the last 20 months. It’s just that more and more problems are starting right now, he said.
As is the case with staff in hospitals, schools and offices, the omicron diversity has severely disrupted food production processes. Sean Connolly, president and CEO of Conagra Brands, a manufacturer of Dry Bird Eye dryers, Slim Jim meatballs and other items, told investors last week that sales from U.S. companies could be forced next month due to omicron- inconsistencies.
Occupational diseases also affect retail stores. Stew Leonard Jr. and president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, a retail store located in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Last week, 8% of its employees – about 200 people – were ill or living in isolation. In most cases, the rate of omission is about 2%.
The bakery in one store had so many people sick that she dropped some of her daily items, such as an apple crumb cake. Leonard says meat and produce sellers have told him they are also facing a shortage of omicron-related workers.
However, Leonard says that he usually sends the items on time, and he thinks the plague is over.
Climate-related events, from hurricanes in the northeast to wildfires in Colorado, have also affected the availability of supplies that have led to more consumers than ever before, exacerbating the effects of the epidemic.
Lisa DeLima, a spokeswoman for the Women’s Organic Market, an independent buyer in the mid-Atlantic region, said the company’s outlets had no sales last weekend because the cold weather halted cars trying to travel from Pennsylvania to Washington.
That bottle has been eliminated, DeLima said. In his view, the gradual decline in the number of items that consumers see here is nothing compared to the long-term decline in the epidemic.
“People should not be afraid to buy,” he said. “There are so many things to look for. It only takes a long time to get from point A to point B.
Experts are divided that sometimes buying grocery items is like hunting.
Dankert thinks this is a disruption, and soon the country will return to normalcy, despite severe headaches and job losses.
“You don’t see the end of the long-term, slow-moving, long-distance __ window where it takes one minute for vendors to find,” he said.
But some do not have such hope.
Freeman, of the Consumer Brands Association, says omicron-related concerns could escalate as diversity affects the Midwest, where major food companies such as Kellogg Co. by General Mills Inc. they work.
Freeman thinks the government should do a better job of ensuring that food workers get tested. They also want similar legislation on measures such as vaccination measures; right now, he said, companies are dealing with legal patchwork in the area.
“I think, as we have already seen, this loosens as each wave decreases. But the question is, should we be at risk of the virus, or can we do the tests we need?” Freeman said.
Over time, it may take some time for food retailers and consumers to become aware of the customers’ preferences that come with the outbreak, says Doug Baker, vice president of industrial relations at FMI Food.
“We have moved from a system of things that is on the verge of a collapse to an all-encompassing need.” He said: “We will be playing with the whole system for the next few years.
Meanwhile, Whitely, a Safeway customer in Washington, said he was lucky to have a retirement because he would spend the whole day looking for a harvest if the first stores he tried ran out. People who are supposed to work or care for their sick loved ones do not have the above resources, he said.
“Some are trying to find food to survive. I just want to cook a casserole, ”he said.
Associated Press Writers Parker Purifoy in Washington and Anne D’Innocenzio in New York contributed.
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