If there's one thing that could increase the already existing risk of grocery shortages this fall, it's the holiday rush. And grocery stores are fully aware that they may face potential challenges trying to keep most sought-after items in stock once November rolls around and we start approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas. (This holiday season, try one of these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.)
According to The Wall Street Journal, grocery stores are stocking up on certain items earlier than usual, while food producers are trying to anticipate and produce enough stock of their most popular items.
For example, Southeastern Grocers LLC, the parent company of BI-LO, Harveys, Winn-Dixie, and Fresco y Más chains which operates more than 500 locations in total, told the publication they have secured holiday staples like Thanksgiving turkeys and holiday hams this summer, which is earlier than the company has ever started planning for the holiday rush. Similarly, grocery wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. loaded up on extra stock of seasonal and holiday items they expect to see flying off the shelves: cranberry sauce, herbal tea, and cold remedies.
In order to avoid shortages that caught them off guard in the spring, some stores are building long-term stockpiles of paper towels, cleaning and sanitizing products, and baking items, which all proved extremely popular during the pandemic. Hopefully this means we won't be seeing cleared-out shelves and a new surge of hoarding behavior.
Walmart and Target are anticipating an exceptionally busy holiday season as well. They have both announced an addition of thousands of seasonal workers to help fill holiday orders, while Walmart also announced they'll be spreading out their Black Friday sales.
But no matter how far in advance grocery stores are trying to prepare, some items will remain hard to find through 2021. For example, Clorox announced some of their products, like disinfecting wipes which have been MIA all year, will continue to be scarce for many more months. Hormel Foods, the makers of Skippy Peanut Butter and SPAM, said their inventory is still 24% lower than a year ago, and General Mills still hasn't caught up with the demand for Progresso soups, Betty Crocker cake mixes, and Pillsbury dough.
Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest grocery news delivered straight to your inbox.