Grocery stores across the country are still experiencing shortages as customers notice empty shelves in their supermarkets.
USA Today reported that the problems are being reported around the country, ranging from meat and produce to other items like cereal. Not only are essential goods more difficult to obtain, but they are also pricier.
“The consumer price index jumped 7% last year, the fastest pace since 1982, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s up from 6.8% annually in November, which was also a nearly four-decade high,” the outlet reported.
On Tuesday, Albertsons’ CEO Vivek Sankaran spoke on an earnings call with analysts, noting that the situation is tight.
“I think as a business, we’ve all learned to manage it. We’ve all learned to make sure that the stores are still very presentable, give the consumers as much choice as we can get,” Sankaran said on the call, per CNN.
He noted that the Omicron variant has placed “a bit of a dent” on attempts to fix supply chain issues. “We would expect more supply challenges over the next four to six weeks,” Sankaran said.
Bad weather across the country and the emergence of the Omicron variant made worse a problem that was already present for many Americans due to worker shortages and inflation.
While grocery stores in the U.S. ordinarily have 5% to 10% of their products out of stock at any given moment, “that unavailability rate is hovering around 15%, according to Consumer Brands Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman,” per USA Today.
The National Grocers Association also reported that grocery stores have less than their typical amount of workers, noting that lots of its members are operating with fewer than 50% of their typical workforce.
“While there is plenty of food in the supply chain, we anticipate consumers will continue to experience sporadic disruptions in certain product categories as we have seen over the past year and half due to the continued supply and labor challenges,” said Greg Ferrara, the group’s president and CEO.
In a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Americans placed the economy as one of their main issues, “with 68% of respondents mentioning it in some way as a top 2022 concern. A similar percentage said the same last year, but mentions of inflation are much higher now: 14% this year, compared with less than 1% last year,” AP reported.
The outlet noted that only 37% of Americans stated the coronavirus was one of their leading five priorities for the government this year. The poll was carried out in early December before Omicron was a central issue to some Americans. However, “in recent follow-up interviews with participants, including self-identified Democrats, many said those developments didn’t shake their views,” AP added.
As The Daily Wire reported this week, the hashtag “#BareShelvesBiden” trended on Twitter near the top of the social media site on Sunday as users discussed frustration over supply chain problems that are still negatively affecting many consumers in the United States.
“The Biden administration has caught flak in recent months for the supply chain crisis and rising inflation that have interrupted Americans’ everyday lives,” Fox News reported. “Yet White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and liberal media pundits have suggested the concurrent economic issues have been overblown.”
“The hashtag, which went as high as the #6 trend on Twitter, featured users tweeting out photographs of empty shelves at stores across the U.S.,” The Daily Wire reported.