Shortages Real and Feared

missing

Well-Known To Whom She Wonders
Messages
3,693
I went to the supermarket today in search of paper napkins (sparse pickings) and the entire paper towel section was empty.

Since shortages have been a part of this entire experience and apparently aren't about to go away, I thought a thread might be interesting.

Here are three articles on the subject.

Backlogs lead to more shortages.

Some products have made a comeback in recent weeks, such as dairy, cookies and crackers, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables. However, other products remain hard to find as the industry struggles to keep up with demand, including breakfast, coffee and tea, frozen meals, frozen meat, refrigerated dough, and canned vegetables, according to IRI.

One reason for out of stocks is that manufacturers and retailers are focusing on making, delivering, and stocking their top-selling items, which can lead to less niche or seasonal items. Additionally, other aisles have less stock because the sector cannot make enough. For example, flour mills are behind on deliveries despite increasing production by as much as 40%.


This article focuses on a supermarket in Petoskey, MI.

Schmit noted it’s not just household cleaning products which are in short supply, but several dry grocery items as well — including rice, pasta, canned vegetables and fruit.

“It’s been all over the board,” Schmit said. “Pickles have really been hard to get the last month or so now, too.”

Schmit said his store receives shipments from a warehouse located in Grand Rapids twice a week. He typically orders 5,000 cases of product for each delivery, yet he hasn’t received more than 1,000 cases per delivery in more than four months.


The very real Dr Pepper shortage.

"Rest assured we're working with our local distribution partners experiencing low inventory levels in certain markets to meet this increased demand, and we encourage every loyal Dr Pepper fan to continue checking their local retailer for their favorite varieties," the company said.

Keurig Dr Pepper didn't respond to CNN's query about aluminum can shortages, which have stalled production among brewers who have cut down on the beer brands they sell.
 

easilydistracte

Geezette
Messages
481
My husband drinks Caffeine-free Coke and normally buys it in cans. The product has been getting harder and harder to find since the restrictions have been in effect. I dropped into a supermarket (that we haven't been shopping at lately) today just to see if they had it in stock. No luck. No Caffeine-free Pepsi, either. The Coke Rep happened to be stocking the section, so I asked her whether Coke had stopped making caffeine-free. She said no, but that--due to the aluminum shortage--Coke chose to stop packaging the caffeine-free stuff in cans and that it may be the first of the year (2021) before it would be available in cans again. She pointed out that it was still available in 2-liter bottles (which just happened to be on special: 3 for $5), so I went ahead and bought 3 bottles.

The particular dental floss that I prefer to use--woven floss made for sensitive gums--has been missing from the shelves since March, I think. Can't think of why that would be, unless it's made of the same material that sanitizing wipes or PPE are made of. Was able to order a substitute product online, but still not happy about it. Oh, well.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,934
My husband did our monthly BJ’s run today and found many things out of stock again. No Clorox wipes, liquid soap, a lot of brands of paper products missing, and several food items too.

My trips to the grocery store have been okay lately, about as usual. But this makes me a bit nervous. 😟
 

flyingsit

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,367
The only thing in short supply here is Clorox wipes and that’s definitely a manufacturing issue. But now that it’s clear that ***** isn’t really spread via surfaces, demand should be dropping too.

I’ve noticed that Target doesn’t keep the toilet paper aisle fully stocked; they keep a few packages of each brand on the shelf and restock when they disappear, probably to keep people from hoarding their favorite type. And there is always hand sanitizer available.
 

antmanb

Well-Known Member
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10,324
I'm in Manchester in the UK and I have noticed that after weeks of supermarket shelves being back to their usual abundance of stock and completely full shelves, the toilet paper aisle is sparsely stocked - not as bad as it was even once stock came back in, but sections are empty and where there is stock its maybe a couple of rows deep as opposed to all the way full. Same with pasta/rice and chicken sections.

Is it just people who really stockpiled finally got through their stock and have gone out to buy in bulk again?
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,302
I think more and more niche products and product extensions will disappear temporarily or perhaps forever as manufacturers, distributors and retailers streamline operations, for a lot of reasons. If there's something you love that isn't already widely available, get it while you can and prepare to find a replacement product.

We are getting our groceries delivered (have been since this started) and it's going well. Not as much choice as we're used to (often only one brand of anything, 1-2 sizes, etc) in a big ethnically diverse city with a lot of competition in the grocery game, but at the same time we've discovered some new brands and products we've never used before and now quite like.

All that being said, my kingdom for some Saigon hot sauce!!
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,302
I'm in Manchester in the UK and I have noticed that after weeks of supermarket shelves being back to their usual abundance of stock and completely full shelves, the toilet paper aisle is sparsely stocked - not as bad as it was even once stock came back in, but sections are empty and where there is stock its maybe a couple of rows deep as opposed to all the way full. Same with pasta/rice and chicken sections.

Is it just people who really stockpiled finally got through their stock and have gone out to buy in bulk again?

I think there is a feeling that once school really starts, and in many regions as the weather gets colder and people are forced back inside, that it's going to get worse, some are predicting much worse. Therefore, to avoid the inevitable chaos of the coming months, many are quietly stocking up now.
 

missing

Well-Known To Whom She Wonders
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3,693
I think there is a feeling that once school really starts, and in many regions as the weather gets colder and people are forced back inside, that it's going to get worse, some are predicting much worse. Therefore, to avoid the inevitable chaos of the coming months, many are quietly stocking up now.

That's what I'm doing and suggesting to my friends that they do so as well.

Paper goods won't go bad and will ultimately get used. But if there's a strong resurgence (and I can't see how there won't be), I'll want to stay in as much as possible. That's my preference in wintertime anyway, but I'm buying through next spring, rather than figuring I'll need to have enough to get through February, and I'm doing the stockpiling in August rather than October.

Another difference is not seeing the supermarket shelves full to overflowing. And some of the frozen foods I'm accustomed to buying have either vanished or are harder to find (who would have thought frozen cauliflower would be a challenge, but since it was, I bought 2 bags).
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
Messages
19,094
My husband drinks Caffeine-free Coke and normally buys it in cans. The product has been getting harder and harder to find since the restrictions have been in effect. I dropped into a supermarket (that we haven't been shopping at lately) today just to see if they had it in stock. No luck. No Caffeine-free Pepsi, either. The Coke Rep happened to be stocking the section, so I asked her whether Coke had stopped making caffeine-free. She said no, but that--due to the aluminum shortage--Coke chose to stop packaging the caffeine-free stuff in cans and that it may be the first of the year (2021) before it would be available in cans again. She pointed out that it was still available in 2-liter bottles (which just happened to be on special: 3 for $5), so I went ahead and bought 3 bottles.

There's a shortage of aluminum cans right now, so companies that use these cans (like for soda and beer) are prioritizing their best selling products. That means that they will go out of stock on some of the less popular items, like caffeine free Diet Coke in cans.
 

once_upon

Voter
Messages
16,659
The only thing in short supply here is Clorox wipes and that’s definitely a manufacturing issue. But now that it’s clear that ***** isn’t really spread via surfaces, demand should be dropping too.

I’ve noticed that Target doesn’t keep the toilet paper aisle fully stocked; they keep a few packages of each brand on the shelf and restock when they disappear, probably to keep people from hoarding their favorite type. And there is always hand sanitizer available.
I read that July 2021 is when Clorox expects production and product availability to return to normal. The wipes are made from the same microfiber as surgical masks. Most of that is being diverted to mask production.

And right now much of the industrial product sizes are going to schools, businesses.

I expect frozen vegetables to start disappearing soon as people will have exhausted their garden produce and begin having more frozen stuff on hand. I think a lot of canned vegetables will be diverted to food banks

Beer and soda in cans will be harder to find because of aluminum shortages.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,302
The foolishness in all this, for those who are not following the political side of the aluminum shortage, is that Trump just made things worse last week by reimposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Already scrambling to fulfill increased demand because the US has always imported a large chunk of its aluminum needs, US manufacturers are also dealing with closure of US facilities and increased demand for products during the *********, so now must look to China, Russia and other sources, or pay the extra 10% for Canadian aluminum that Trump has imposed.
 

Barbara Manatee

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,470
The particular dental floss that I prefer to use--woven floss made for sensitive gums--has been missing from the shelves since March, I think. Can't think of why that would be, unless it's made of the same material that sanitizing wipes or PPE are made of. Was able to order a substitute product online, but still not happy about it. Oh, well.
Bad news, if you are talking about the Listerine Gentle Gum Care. It was discontinued late last year before all this started. :fragile: It's the only stuff I've ever been able to use that doesn't shred, so I've been hoarding the last precious bit I have, trying to floss with an inch at a time.

You can still buy it on ebay for $50+. :bribe::bribe::bribe:
 

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
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50,758
I am at Kroger. There is no hydrogen peroxide (which I need). Also no isopropyl alcohol, no thermometers, and no wipes. Cleaning spray, paper towels and toilet paper are all in short supply.

I've been stocking up a bit; I might step it up a little.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
14,297
Iams weight control dry cat food. Fancy Feast can cat food - I can get the individual cans, but not a dozen in a box - do you know how many I drop when I have to pick them up little bitty can by can? :drama:
Acrylic craft paint.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
37,682
The very real Dr Pepper shortage.
Noooooooooooo! :drama:

Kidding. I like Dr. Pepper but I don't drink much soda anymore.

The only thing in short supply here is Clorox wipes and that’s definitely a manufacturing issue. But now that it’s clear that ***** isn’t really spread via surfaces, demand should be dropping too.
From your keyboard to the hoarders' brains! I haven't been able to get disinfecting wipes since this whole thing started.

Fancy Feast can cat food - I can get the individual cans, but not a dozen in a box
I order mind from Chewy.com and I have reoccurring order. This gives two advanges. (1) You get a discount on the price and (2) they set aside the product to fill their autoship orders before they put the rest into the system for random orders. My friends tell me they can't get Fancy Feast in the store but I've never had a shortage due to Chewy.com's autoship program.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,302
Iams weight control dry cat food. Fancy Feast can cat food - I can get the individual cans, but not a dozen in a box - do you know how many I drop when I have to pick them up little bitty can by can? :drama:

:lol: In one of our first online orders back in March we tried to get a case of Fancy Feast. It's not what our little guy eats, but we thought just in case. They subbed it with two bags of Temptations treats. Seriously, I mean he enjoyed them, but that's not quite the same as actual cat food, hello.

Since then we have made two trips to the specialty pet food store we usually go to, loading up on cans, dry food, litter and bird seed (for all the critters in our backyard).

There are several Global Pet Foods in your area, if that helps - our cat enthusiastically endorses Weruva canned food and Orijen dry food :cat:
 
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8,039
The only thing unusual I've found that hasn't always been available is glycerin. We go through a lot of bubbles at my house :shuffle:
 

tony

Well-Known Member
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7,977
I highly recommend everyone to just use Instacart (in the US, of course). Some, not all, stores increase the prices slightly, but it's usually balanced out by BOGO or other deals that might not be available in-store at the same time. The delivery fee isn't anything crazy. I've been using it weekly since March, and also used it a few times before that as I live on a beach and don't have a car anymore-- an Uber there and back would cost more than just having it delivered. It also makes me avoid the junk food aisles and throw things in my cart that I really shouldn't get.

On top of selecting specific products and replacement products in the event they are out of stock, you can watch your shopper do the shopping and decline any replacements you don't want. At that point, I'd just see what Amazon had if I was a Prime member.
 
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Lizziebeth

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7,199
I want to can tomatoes and salsa. There is not a canning lid to be found anywhere in my area. If you want lids, you need to buy jars. I have too many jars already.

A few months ago I bought 2 packs of 12. I should have bought more. I think I have about 30 lids and there will be no more available this year I am afraid. I looked on line and the price has gone way up too. I will can salsa and freeze tomatoes if I have to.

One thing that is always missing is some margarine that SO likes. I was in a store the other day and there were three left. I felt guilty but I bought all three. There has also been a shortage of oat bran cereal, my breakfast of choice. When I found that, I bought several. There are a number of other items that we use all the time that mysteriously come and go. I don't want to hoard stuff but I have learned my lesson - buy it when you see it.

I do online ordering at the grocery store. I had an order of about $100 and I only got about $70 of it because they were out of stock. I was in the store the other day and some of the aisles look like they have been pillaged.

My SO got a letter from the VA that his blood pressure med Losartan is in short supply so they are dispensing it 30 days at a time instead of 90 day. Thats a little skary.
 

KCC

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,015
The only canned goods that I use regularly are tomatoes (sauce, diced, crushed, paste) and beans, and those shelves have been low since the start of the *****. The stock increased for a while back in May/June and is really low again. I'm making lasagna today and am using brands of canned tomato products that are not my first choice, but I'm sure it will all work out -- tough to make a really terrible lasagna. One thing, though, it will be an expensive lasagna. The meat, cheese, eggs and canned tomato products have all risen in price this year.
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
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19,094
Wipes do make it to the shelves, as do things like paper towels, but not enough to meet demand. Right now, distributors and suppliers of these products will be prioritizing their top customers, so that should be Walmart and Target in the US, and also Kroger if you have one near you. And these retailers are receiving shipments of these products; the issue being that they are sold out the morning they arrive. If you can find out when they normally get their shipments of, for example, Clorox disposable wipes, and you can be there when they hit the shelf, you may be able to get them.

I read that July 2021 is when Clorox expects production and product availability to return to normal. The wipes are made from the same microfiber as surgical masks. Most of that is being diverted to mask production.

Clorox had originally said July, 2020. I also see that the new date is 2021. Ouch.

Due to problems sourcing packaging components, there are shortages of anything with a trigger spray and anything with a pump. When it's possible, companies are moving these products to other formats, so you may see changes in how your products look/apply.

As I'd mentioned before with the aluminum can shortage, across the entire consumer products marketplace and not just with canned items, suppliers are prioritizing their best sellers, to make sure they are in stock. This is at the expense of lower selling items, so if you love something a bit nichy, it may or may not be on shelf right now.

Some items that the consumer packaged goods industry forecasts as having continued out of stocks/shortages are dry yeast, disinfectant cleaners (including wipes), meat (most specifically beef), pickles (shortage due to lack of glass jars), anything in glass jars (there's been a 30% reduction in glass recycling due to the *********), canned vegetables, dried pasta (should be in and out of stores).
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
Messages
19,094
I want to can tomatoes and salsa. There is not a canning lid to be found anywhere in my area. If you want lids, you need There has also been a shortage of oat bran cereal, my breakfast of choice. When I found that, I bought several.

Sales of cold cereals have been going down for several years, but they've started going up strongly during the *********, as people have been eating at home. This has lead to some cold cereals being out of stock, as the supply chain needed time to adapt to the new demand. But they aren't forecasting long term shortages of cold cereals.
 

annie720

Well-Known Member
Messages
822
My SO got a letter from the VA that his blood pressure med Losartan is in short supply so they are dispensing it 30 days at a time instead of 90 day. Thats a little skary.

Now THAT is the scariest thing I've seen. I've been taking this for 10 years and have never needed an adjustment. You don't want to start messing with bp meds.

I'm not that concerned about shortages. We made it through fine before and I have no problem if they were to start restricting quantities again. There are really no must-haves. DH would not be happy if he couldn't get his cereal (just mainstream stuff) and milk, but could get by. I like to make sure I have plenty of canned tuna, peanut butter, nuts and legumes, as well as soups and broths. Our pantry is only the size of a small closet and it is full, and our only freezer space is the bottom of our french-door fridge, and it is full. I don't plan to buy a separate freezer or start using our garage space for food or paper storage, as I've seen some people do. I haven't bought paper products since February because we still have some and I don't see any reason to get more just because. What we have will probably last until Thanksgiving. It's just the two of us and that makes a difference. We can adjust. If any of our kids decided to move back home, then I might go out and look for toilet paper. :)

I haven't noticed any recent shortages here except for disinfectants and wipes, and they haven't been on the shelf for so long I've become used to it.
 

Lizziebeth

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,199
Sales of cold cereals have been going down for several years, but they've started going up strongly during the *********, as people have been eating at home. This has lead to some cold cereals being out of stock, as the supply chain needed time to adapt to the new demand. But they aren't forecasting long term shortages of cold cereals.
SO's favorite cold cereal is gone half the time too. My oat bran is a hot cereal and I like it with chopped dates (I am lazy at the crack of dawn and don't want to chop my own dates). I have to chase all over town to find either one. I used to buy them both at the bulk foods area and get a decent supply at one time. Of course bulk foods is history and probably will never return.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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37,682
Of course bulk foods is history and probably will never return.
At one store I shop, the bulk food section is now all pre-packaged. So it's bulk in the sense that it was delivered in bulk. But then an employee put them in plastic tubs and stuck a pricing label on them.
 

sk8pics

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,525
The only canned goods that I use regularly are tomatoes (sauce, diced, crushed, paste) and beans, and those shelves have been low since the start of the *****. The stock increased for a while back in May/June and is really low again.
I’ve noticed this too. I use canned diced tomatoes in recipes frequently and the supply has been very low. So every time I’m in the supermarket, I check and buy some if it’s available.
Wipes do make it to the shelves, as do things like paper towels, but not enough to meet demand. Right now, distributors and suppliers of these products will be prioritizing their top customers, so that should be Walmart and Target in the US, and also Kroger if you have one near you.
FWIW, I was in BJs a week ago and they had a good supply of generic wipes. I bought 2 packages of 4 canisters each, thinking I would give some to friends as needed. So, BJs might be another option, as may Costco.

I’m going to make a supermarket run on Monday, mostly for produce since I’m out and they’re having a good sale. Now I think I will stock up on a few other things, too... salsa, diced tomatoes, maybe some canned veggies.
 

Lizziebeth

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,199
At one store I shop, the bulk food section is now all pre-packaged. So it's bulk in the sense that it was delivered in bulk. But then an employee put them in plastic tubs and stuck a pricing label on them.
My store did that too with the remaining bulk stuff. But it is all gone now except some of the candy!
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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28,763
Pasta and TP are back in full force at our local supermarket (Safeway) are most of the baking supplies, including yeast. But I haven't seen any kind of wipes since the p*nd*m*c began. Lysol disinfectant spray just showed up on the shelves again, so I'm buying a can of it every week for the inevitable second wave.
 

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