Abilene stores still running out of certain products 18-months after pandemic begins


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Consumers in Abilene are seeing more and more bare shelves at stores, so KTAB and KRBC turned to managers and supply directors to explain why this is happening and what can we do to stop it.

If in your weekly or monthly trip to the supermarket you’ve seen some empty spots where your to-go product usually sits – it’s because the supply chain has been in “challenge mode” since last year.

Kora Rush, Director of Supply Chain at United Supermarkets, says “it started 18 months ago, the impact of COVID on our supply chain was devastating.”

But even though we have recovered, the current lack of certain products is tied to a problem seen nationwide.

“In fact, that might be the leading cause of delays right now would be finding a stable workforce and all of us are competing for the same basic pool of individuals,” Rush explains.

And our Abilene’s United Stores recommend not to stock up or hoard so we can avoid deepening the shortage of supply.

Victoria Hernandez, Store Director at United Supermarkets, says “no need to be overly concerned about it that certain item and then it may not be available now but it’s going to be available at some point”

The one thing that hurts us all is when we panic and when we don’t trust the process

“We forecast production we forecast shipments and movement and all of those things but in a moment of panic the end consumer surprised dissolve and it surprised us all the way to the farm,” Rush says.

And this lack of resources can also make consumers not recognize their favorite products.

“Our suppliers are doing everything they can to make sure they get their product to market and in many cases that will mean some new and innovative packaging based on what they can find,” Rush says.  But many see this as an opportunity to try something new in the kitchen and the stores and pitching in to help.

Hernandez says that, “people have become more understanding and also creative and how they’re cooking even for the longest time alfredo sauce was really hard to find, but we started telling people the recipes on how to make your own alfredo sauce because it wasn’t available in a jar. Sometimes you just have to make the best of what you have.”

Sometimes a product may not available because of a shortage in the packaging materials, like cardboard, cap bottles or even binders that hold a 6 pack drink together, and it also comes down on where each brand has the lack of workers in their distribution system.

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