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Supply chain issues result in some empty grocery store shelves as holidays approach

Expert says it’s not food supply that’s lacking but raw materials coming from outside the United States.
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:40 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A shortage in plastic and aluminum around the world is causing grocery store shelves to be empty, making it harder for shoppers to get some of their favorite items ahead of the holidays.

Mark Miller from Arizona Food Marketing Alliance said if consumers are looking for a specific brand or a popular item, they may have to make a couple of trips to grocery stores in the area. He said shoppers are having to settle for a second or third choice on the shelves because of the raw material shortage.

“Several manufacturers are having a difficult time, a lot of it is because of containers. There is some shortage on plastic, there was an aluminum shortage but it’s gotten a little better. Beverages are definitely struggling,” Miller said. “Cereals, different things like that are feeling the labor and raw material shortage at pretty much a greater level than anyone else.”

Miller said companies are making more of their best sellers in order to try and keep up with demand. He said that’s why certain specialty products may not even be an option.

“You’ll see major manufacturers reduce the amount of items. You may have seen five different sizes of a cereal or 10 different flavors of a condiment or something like that, and that may have been eliminated for the time being to get their more high-velocity products on the shelves,” Miller said.

Miller said it’s not the supply of food that’s lacking but rather the raw materials that are coming from outside of the United States. He said grocery stores are doing their best despite the shortage to get holiday favorites on shelves nationwide.

“It feels like we’re getting to the finish line, but we’re doing our best over the holidays to increase the inventory and the day’s supply on the items that we know are always in high demand,” Miller said. “Turkeys, pumpkin pies, cranberries - we’re going to do our best to increase our inventory as there’s more get-togethers.”

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