Amid the spike in omicron, supply chain crisis, and winter weather, Americans are seeing empty shelves in many places.
Omicron: Supply chain crisis that destroyed food supplies
There are many factors that contribute to empty shelves in stores. However, the most important is the omicron variety. Vivek Sankaran (CEO of Albertsons), stated that many products are out of stock and businesses have learned to deal with it.
He also indicated that the grocery store is working hard to offer a limited selection of products so customers can purchase as many products as possible.
Sankaran is concerned that the supply chain crisis could worsen over the next month. This could put additional strain on resources.
Recent data from the National Grocers Association showed that grocery stores have a smaller workforce than usual. Sometimes, this can lead to a shortage of up to 50% of staff.
Greg Ferrara, CEO of the National Grocers Association claimed that the supply chain is sufficient. The labor shortage is putting pressure on all aspects of the food industry, and stores are experiencing difficulties.
Similarly, Phil Lempert, an editor at SuperMarketGuru, indicated many industries are not built considering social distancing protocols; that is why almost all sectors, including farms, food, and grocery stores, are facing the crisis.
Low-wage workers also hesitate to return to work as they are eager to see other opportunities.
Next comes the truck industry problem. According to Lempert, this has been affected by the aging workforce. This problem, he said, has been a persistent one for a long time.
Winter testing Americans to their limits
The crisis is also being exacerbated by the soaring winter temperatures since the New Year. It has become more difficult to transport goods to their destination because of the weather.
Interstate 95 was clogged for 20 hours, which also made it difficult to transport grocery trucks.
Doug Baker, the vice president of food industry organization FMI, claimed the winter months always pose a significant threat regarding grocery shortage. However, he noted this time the weather behaved in an unprecedented manner, which further intensified the crisis.
Baker believes that many Americans buy more goods when they see empty stores, and this is the primary reason for the current shortage in the United States.
The delay in opening more than 5,000 schools is similar. This encourages parents to purchase milk, bread, and cereal to make meals that aren’t available at school.
Lempert further added the eating habits of people have been disturbed amid the pandemic; so they tend to buy different sorts of items nowadays. Thus, when people want to eat different things and try out new dishes at home, this results in panic buying.