Why Grocery Stores are Struggling to Fill Their Empty Shelves
Grocery store shelves are empty across the country, and they’re staying empty as stores struggle to quickly stock everyday necessities such as milk, bread, meat, canned soups, and cleaning supplies.
Disgruntled shoppers have taken to social media to vent their frustrations over the last several days, posting photos of bare shelves at Trader Joe’s locations, Giant Foods stores, and Publix stores, among others.
Despite two years of a pandemic and supply-chain issues, grocery stores are still not getting the break they hoped for. In fact, the team is now facing numerous setbacks.
Omicron’s devastating blow
As workers continue to be sickened by the highly contagious Covid-19 virus, it has impacted critical functions such as transportation and logistics. Therefore, this has an impact on the delivery of products and restocking of store shelves across the country.
As a result of an ongoing trucker shortage, the supply chain continues to be slowed and grocery stores are unable to replenish their shelves as quickly as they would like. Adding to the shortage in the trucking industry is an aging workforce, Lempert said. “This has been a problem for several years.”
Domestic transportation is accompanied by record-high congestion at the nation’s ports. The combination causes shortages, he added.
Trader Joe’s customers saw weather emergency messages attached to empty shelves over the weekend.
Many people in the Midwest and Northeast have recently been faced with severe weather and hazardous travel conditions. Not only are people buying more groceries, but inclement weather also makes it more difficult for goods to be transported, resulting in shortages, said Lempert.
Climate change is also a serious and longer-term threat to the food supply. In the US, and in Brazil as well, fires and droughts have destroyed crops such as wheat, corn, and soybean. “It can’t be ignored.”
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