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What You Need To Know About The Expected Grocery Shortage

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If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is to prepare for the unexpected. That’s exactly what grocery stores are doing. In the spring, Americans hurriedly panic shopped for supplies they believed they needed to survive days or weeks stuck at home. Toilet paper, paper towels, baking supplies, canned foods, and Clorox wipes were top priorities, and these items quickly disappeared from supermarket shelves. 

Grocery stores are anticipating shortages should the U.S. face another wave. But, this time, they are attempting to prepare for pandemic shopping. For example, rather than stocking for weeks at a time, grocery stores are now stocking for months at a time.

The Potential for Another Wave

While we are all ready for this pandemic to be over and our lives to return to normal,  many experts are predicting another wave. According to Fox 29, “Some worry a large wave of coronavirus might occur this fall or winter — after schools reopen, the weather turns colder and less humid, and people huddle inside more. That would follow seasonal patterns seen with flu and other respiratory viruses.”

The combination of colder weather, the typical cold and flu season, and holiday events mean there is potential for another wave. Fox West Texas reports, “This [second wave] comes as Americans are hitting peak pandemic fatigue, many eager to get back to normal. Also with holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas coming up, it will be harder than ever to get people to stay socially distant. All of these factors point to a second wave, as well as evidence from overseas. France is reporting its second wave of coronavirus arrived earlier than they thought.”

Here’s some good news – while experts do expect another wave of the coronavirus, they are predicting fewer deaths as a result of the virus. ABC News explains, “A lot has changed since the pandemic first hit the U.S. earlier this year, when the nation’s hospitals were overwhelmed with patients suffering a new, mysterious illness. Fast forward to September, and the pandemic is still surging out of control in many parts of the country, but relatively speaking, fewer patients are dying from the virus.”

However, there is still the possibility that America could receive new restrictions or face another lockdown. Unfortunately, other countries are already placing citizens under new restrictions as a result of second waves, and Israel is already back in full lockdown

Additionally, the average American has learned from their mistake the first time around and plans to stockpile supplies in the event of a second wave. A consumer study by CPG sales and marketing firm Acosta found, “38% [of shoppers] said they stocked up on groceries at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and would do so again if another shutdown occurs. That scenario also would spur another 15% of respondents to build up their stores of groceries, even though they didn’t stockpile at the beginning of the pandemic.”

That’s why grocery stores are expecting shortages once again

Stocking Up to Avoid Shortages During the Next Wave

Before the pandemic, grocery stores tended to stock weeks ahead. For example, Business Insider reports, “Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the US, was only keeping four to six weeks’ worth of inventory before the virus took hold in March.” After the first wave of the pandemic, grocery stores are thinking differently. With fears of grocery shortages due to a second wave occurring right around the anticipated holiday rush, grocery stores have started stocking up early and preparing for months rather than weeks. 

Unfortunately, grocery stores still haven’t recovered their supply of some products people bought while panic-shopping in the spring, such as Clorox wipes. According to ABC Action News, “Clorox, the world’s biggest maker of disinfectant cleaning materials, said consumers will continue to see a shortage of its wipes and other products into 2021 because of overwhelming demand during the pandemic. Clorox dominates the $1 billion disinfectant wipes market with a 45% market share. The company said it has aggressively ramped up production for its cleaning products, but it still won’t be enough.” 

It was not just cleaning supplies and paper products that ran short. Canned vegetables, shelf-stable meat products, and canned soups also ran low. Fox Business reports, “Hormel Foods CEO James Snee noted in the company’s third-quarter earnings call that while the company isn’t seeing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is still making ‘significant increases’ in some of its core center store items such as pepperoni, bacon, SPAM, as the company seeks to mitigate the risk of disruptions from a potential second wave of the virus. […]”

The report also states, “Campbell’s Soup CEO Mark Clouse said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that total inventory recovery is ‘about halfway done.’ He noted that the company is focused on stocking up on its soup brands as well as popular snacks like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers and Kettle and Cape Cod potato chips ahead of the winter season and that it will likely be fully restored within the first half of the year.”

Grocery stores are still feeling ripple effects from the spring, which is why they are stockpiling now in preparation for a second wave. 

What is Stocked on Pandemic Pallets

With looming worries of a second wave, grocery stores are stocking what is being called “pandemic pallets.” Pandemic pallets are wooden structures that are stockpiled with items grocery stores fear may run low during a second wave in the holiday season. They are stored in their warehouses where they can be retrieved if there is a run on pandemic supplies

Grocery stores are stocking the following types of items on their pandemic pallets:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing products
  • Paper products
  • Food staples, such as pasta sauces
  • Cold medicines
  • Dry goods

Additionally, grocery stores are stocking sought-after items that tend to be in demand near the holidays, such as cranberry sauce. 

Avoid shortages. Stock up on these items now.

Even if America does not experience a second wave, there is still plenty of reason to stock your shelves. As Zero Hedge explains, “Most of these grocery chains believe that another wave of COVID-19 is the worst-case scenario that they could possibly be facing.  Sadly, that isn’t even close to the truth. We have entered a time when global food supplies are going to become increasingly stressed, and it is going to be absolutely critical to keep U.S. food production at the highest levels possible.”

As a survivalist, you know the importance of stocking up on emergency food supply. Stocking your pantry with emergency food supplies will ensure your survival throughout a second wave or a worse disaster event. 

Beyond stocking emergency food supplies, consider the other types of goods that ran low when the pandemic first hit the States. Take advantage of the time between the first and second waves to stock up on those items (such as toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer.) Don’t forget about stocking supplies for baking, which proved to be a major activity in the spring and will likely be during the second wave, too. 

While we don’t suspect to see a kiddie pool or bike shortage like we did during the spring and summer quarantine, you may want to consider purchasing winter gear and indoor gym equipment now before these items become hard to find. 

Don’t rely on grocery stores and big-box chains. Be self-reliant, friends.


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