If you’ve noticed that your usual grocery staples aren’t available at your local grocer, you’re not imagining things — there’s a growing shortage from ketchup packets to chicken to bagels — and according to industry experts, it’s likely to get worse.
The hit-or-miss availability of certain items has become so common, some stores, such as Starbucks have posted a notice on the door, apologizing for the lack of certain favorite items, saying there’s a national shortage.
And it’s not only food affected by the shortage.
The strain from the pandemic has affected shipping, demand, supply and many other facets of the global economy.
Currently, hot ticket items — as in, hard to find — were listed as chicken, chlorine, computer chips, gas, lumber, and metals, specifically, steel.
In some areas, the chicken shortage has caused major food chains to remove chicken tenders from the menu because of limited supply.
As summer looms, and temperatures in the Central Valley already hitting in the 90s, a shortage of chlorine is bad timing.
According to news outlets, the low supply of chlorine is due to a fire in a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura, causing prices of existing supply to double.
The global computer chip shortage is affecting the car, smartphone and appliance markets. Analysts are predicting this shortage is likely to last through 2021.
In the gas market, it’s the shortage of drivers needed to transport the tank trucks that’s gumming up the works. The National Tank Truck Carriers, an industry trade group, indicated there are an estimated 20 to 25 percent of the fleet parked due to a lack of qualified drivers.
What started as a problem before the pandemic, became a full-fledged crisis once COVID-19 hit.
The shortage of lumber is adversely affecting the construction market; however, there does seem to be a glimmer of good news on the horizon, as industry executives are ramping up production to catch up with the ravenous demand. Prices are expected to steeply decline in the next 18 months but for now, the price of lumber remains excruciatingly high.
Another issue facing suppliers is the anemic work force only now starting to straggle back into the job. COVID-19 concerns, illness, and the lockdown have made it difficult to return to business as usual, especially when new COVID-19 safety protocols are required. Companies have had to change their plant floor design in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines, as well as keep in mind previous safety protocols.
While suppliers are scrambling to patch the shortfall, analysts warn that the shortages could last throughout 2021.