Amid the spike in omicron, supply chain crisis, and winter weather, Americans are once again seeing empty store shelves at many locations.
Omicron, supply chain crisis destroyed food supplies
While many factors are contributing to the emptying shelves at stores, the omicron variant tops the chart. According to Vivek Sankaran, the CEO of Albertsons, many products are in tight supply; businesses have learned to live with this situation.
Likewise, he indicated the grocery store is trying hard to present a limited number of products in a way that gives customers maximum products to purchase.
Sankaran believes the supply chain crisis may worsen in the next month, which could further put a strain on the resources available.
The data of the National Grocers Association recently highlighted grocery stores are working with less than the normal workforce; at times, this shortage is reaching up to 50 percent of staff absent from grocery stores.
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Greg Ferrara, the CEO of the National Grocers Association, claimed the supply chain has enough food. However, stores are facing challenges, due to the labor shortage, which is pressuring all areas of the food industry.
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.
Not only this, but low-wage workers are hesitant to return to their jobs as they look forward to seeing other opportunities.
Then comes the truck sector problem. This according to Lempert, has been disrupted, due to the aging workforce. According to him, this problem has been persistent for a long time.
Winter testing Americans to their limits
The surging winter weather since the arrival of New Year is likewise contributing to the crisis. As road conditions deteriorate due to this weather, it has become difficult to transport goods to their destinations.
For instance, Interstate 95 had a 20-hour long traffic jam, which blocked the way of many grocery trucks as well.
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.
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Baker believed many people buy extra goods in a rush when they see stores getting empty, which is a primary reason for the shortage across the United States.
Similarly, the opening of more than 5,000 schools has been delayed, which encourages parents to buy milk, bread, meat, and cereal to cook meals that are not eaten at schools.
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.