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.
“It started 18 months ago, the impact of COVID on our supply chain was devastating,” said Director of Supply Chain at United Supermarkets Kora Rush.
But even though we have recovered, the current lack of certain products is tied to a problem seen nationwide.
“We are all competing for workers,” Rush said. “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.”
And our local united stores recommend not to stock up or hoard so we can avoid deepening the shortage of supply.
“No need to be overly concerned about it,” Store Director at N10 and Willis United Supermarkets Victoria Hernandez said. “That certain item and then it may not be available now but it’s going to be available at some point, maybe we don’t have the brand that you want but we still have the product available.”
To avoid having the shelves as empty as they were on March of 2020.
“The one thing that hurts us all is when we panic and when we don’t trust the process,” Rush said. “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.”
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 said.
But many see this as an opportunity to try something new in the kitchen, and the stores and pitching in to help.
“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,” Hernandez said. “Sometimes you just have to make the best of what you have.”
Rush also explained that sometimes a product isn’t available due to a shortage in packaging materials like cardboard, cap bottles, or even binders that hold a 6-pack-beverage together.