With the holidays fast approaching, we are sure the grocery shopping has already started in preparation for the big family gatherings. But is there a food shortage? Unfortunately, yes, the U.S. is facing food shortages of several holiday staples. This means your holiday budget may be affected by this. Since the pandemic, the supply chain hasn’t been the same. There has been inflation, supply and demand, and labor shortages, plus more, which have all taken their toll on the market.
Prime Fresh Handling has had a front-row seat to see how the market and supply chain has changed for many industries. Some of the foods that are feeling the shortages are wheat, lettuce, butter, eggs, and turkey. The prices and availability of these products have definitely been affected.
5 Food Shortages
There have not been any nationwide disruptions to the supply chain, though the inventory at your local store might be low and more expensive now before stores get the chance to restock. What is causing the food shortage in America? Well, there are several different factors that are causing food shortages. The pandemic, climate change, labor shortages, and scarce packaging materials all have a hand in it.
The war in Ukraine has affected stores and left them struggling to keep wheat products, like wheat flour, on the shelves for the holidays. The second-largest wheat producer in the world is India, which has banned international exports of wheat because of the record heat waves and the ongoing war. There are some markets even rationing wheat flour per family. Businesses are now forced to pass down high food prices to customers, which is affecting holiday budgets.
Since 2019, the prices for romaine and iceberg lettuce have increased significantly. Food chains like Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Subway, and Panera Bread have begun warning customers about the shortages, and that lettuce could be unavailable in certain locations. Some restaurants have even been adding a surcharge for the leafy greens.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in U.S. storage facilities, the amount of butter has fallen slightly month-over-month since August and over 20% since this time last year. The price of butter increased over 20% year-over-year in August.
Chickens and turkeys are being killed at record levels due to avian flu in the U.S. this year. This has led to lower egg production and higher prices at grocery stores nationwide. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has reported that egg prices were up almost 10% in October, which is the largest monthly increase for any grocery item.
Prime Fresh Handling has experts in the meat and poultry industry, so we know that, similar to chickens, turkey numbers have also been declining due to the bird flu this year. There are reports that this could affect the turkey numbers through March 2023. The USDA has reported that turkey meat production is set to drop 6% from 2021 and that prices could increase up to 112% per pound.