Home > Pantry Challenge/Food Shortages?

Pantry Challenge/Food Shortages?

January 22nd, 2022 at 03:54 pm

Grocery shopping has been different for me this month. I started out participating in the January eat from the pantry/freezer challenge but slightly modified because I was out of some staples so I knew I would have some minimal spending at the start of the month. My goal was to keep it as low as possible and really refocus on using up what I had on hand after the holidays.  


When I went to the store at the beginning of the month I encountered (for the first time) that my usual store was completely out of some of my preferred brands, such as butter, iced tea, ice cream bars and coffee creamer. I have tried many other brands of these over time but really prefer certain brands now and like to stick to them. I went to a different store, and they were also wiped out of these brands, or they just don’t carry them. I had to have butter so that was the only item I bought a different brand. I went back to the store a few times over the past few weeks checking to see if my preferred brands were in stock and they were still out until this weekend, so it took 3 weeks to get them in. So, I stocked up not knowing if they would run out again, which threw off my attempt to keep my spending lower. 


I also noticed that bottled water was almost completely wiped out, the frozen cooked chicken patties and tenders (which I haven’t been buying but looked to see what they had) were also very limited. I needed an onion, and the quality was terrible. They all seemed very soft, but I did manage to find one that was ok. The apples also seemed limited and somewhat bruised. I passed on those.   


So far this month I have spent $78.54, and don’t intend to spend any more. Of that amount I calculated that $16.62 of that was due to stocking up on the things they had been out of.  


The shortages may have been due in part to some winter weather up and down the east coast, and maybe some supply chain issues. This is really the first time I have encountered noticeable shortages on products I regularly use. I realize that I didn’t HAVE to have ice cream bars, or iced tea, and changing brands of butter and coffee creamer isn’t a hardshipBut it contributed to me stocking up on these products when they did come in. Instead of buying one of each item, I bought two.  

Is anyone else noticing shortages? Do you stock up a bit when you see your usual items back in stock? I feel like I’m grocery shopping a bit differently now. 

11 Responses to “Pantry Challenge/Food Shortages?”

  1. Amber Says:

    I've experienced the same thing. I work in HR and though it would have been a pain in you know what to implement, I wished the vaccine mandate would have held up. The reason being is, hiring has become more of a challenge, COVID runs rampant, and therefore more people are out sick, sliding down production of many items.
    It sucks but here we are

  2. crazyliblady Says:

    I also noticed some completely empty shelves. I regularly stock up and have been doing so since early April 2020. That's when I went to the store after things shut down. I went to the store that Saturday and saw that the shelves for toilet paper and paper towels were empty. So, I started stocking up in small quantities on products I use, because I could see that a lot of people were panic buying.

  3. Lots of Ideas Says:

    I have always watched for sales on the things I use regularly and stocked up. The only item I have found not in stock was eggs, and only at one of the two stores (Target, CVS) that I usually go to. There are other stores further away (I live in the city and walk everywhere) and I assume they will have anything I need and can’t wait for,

    I approve of vaccine mandates, but I don’t think it would prevent what is happening with Omicron. I use the NBA as my bell weather. Before Christmas, they had a big outbreak even though most players are vaccinated. They cancelled a few games but also allowed teams to sign a lot of replacement players to keep games going. It was kind of fun to see former and future players, and I think a few actually ended up with ‘permanent’ gigs. Now they seem to have worked there way through it, and are back to ‘normal.’ I joked that maybe some of the replacement players could now be substitute teachers.

    Yes, some schools are closing, and I am not saying covid is the flu but I think in the past schools often closed for a few days when illness swept through. In Massachusetts, we have a school vacation in February and that would often break up the illness cycle. I think this will be true in stores too - once we get past a few weeks, staffing will get back to normal.

    That being said, if you aren’t up to date on your shots, you are at higher risk of hospitalization and death. The mental strain on the healthcare workers of seeing people die from preventable death is breaking them, and if they can come back from that, it won’t be in a couple weeks…it is an act of community support to be vaccinated.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I have encountered empty shelves here and there. Last month the only real inconvenience was having to buy regular syrup instead of maple. Wow, what a difference -- I've gotten used to the superior taste of real maple syrup. And I bought orange and yellow peppers instead of green peppers. No big deal. This week I couldn't get any coffee creamer at Aldi, so I bought half & half -- but with half & half I have to take a dairy aid pill and I just didn't like it as well. So today I bought International Delight at Walgreens while on my walk. It was overpriced, like all Walgreens groceries. (I'm not complaining. They provide a service to people who don't drive, and their stock is necessarily limited by space. I get it.)

    When I shopped at Aldi last week I picked up a 12-pack of toilet paper, even though I had 12-pack at home. That's something I don't want to run out of.

  5. mumof2 Says:

    Here is australia it depends on where you are living..our shelves have been pretty much stocked the trouble they were having was staffing the delivery trucks and staffing the stocking of shelves as so many workers have been sick...but we haven't seemed to have that issue around us...we actually have done 3 big shops in the last few days (different stores) as our daughter is going away for a month and then a week quarantine and we don't want to be going to stores if we don't have to...hope it gets better for you

  6. Carol Says:

    Yes, the store where I shop is out of strange things: lactase milk, for instance. This week 2 stores didn't have quart boxes of chicken broth.

  7. livingalmostlarge Says:

    Everything is out of stock. Shelves are bare. I just buy what's in stock and make it work. I try costco and a grocery store. I tried to buy red onions and couldn't find any. The 8 lb navel oranges door crasher for $3.97 nothing for 2 weeks. You just gotta go with the flow and assume you are saving a boatload just cooking over eating out. I also stockpile when I see something I use a lot of. DH thinks I'm nuts for using the broth paste but I no longer have to buy the quart boxes of chicken broth and storage it when I use so much.

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    Interesting. We haven't noticed food shortages or empty shelves here.

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    What we are out of is anything that comes from anywhere else. There is a strong buy local program at our little Washington chain store so they get their meats off of farms in their own counties, so we still have meat. It's more expensive, but we have it. Produce can be hit or miss and alot of it that used to come from California is coming from South America and not the usual suspects like Brazil and Chile. I think California is keeping quite a bit of its produce in state now. We are doing okay on things like potatoes, but I've noticed a major depletion of carrots and onions. And the onions they do have are smaller. The carrots are being sold in one pound bags instead of 2 lb or 5 lb bags, and nowhere do you see those big 25 pound bags. Cabbages are a lot smaller. How many radishes or green onions in a bunch is less. We are not seeing much in the way of out of season produce at all, like melons or strawberries, sometimes only five or six of each things, and no watermelons. The frozen food section was wiped pretty clean except for off brand French fries. Frozen veggies otherwise were almost non-existent. Dairy was wiped out except for the local dairy that comes in glass jars, no butter, just margarine. The only eggs were pasture raised organic eggs. Sour cream was gone except for the non-fat, there was no cream or half and half, the choice of yogurt varieties was way down and the amount of space for them was reduced, but there were still popular name brands like Zoi and Chobani. The canned goods were faced (that's when they bring all the cans to the front to make it look full), but there was nothing behind those front cans, and a lot of things were just gone, like chili, canned beans, dry beans and rice. There was tons of off brand toilet paper, though. No cereal that wasn't name brand and not much of it. I didn't buy more than 2 bunches of green onions and a bag of salad, but I gave the store a real going over. If you don't prep at all, it's time to start. Even a one month supply of food can make the difference when there are shortages for weeks at a time.

  10. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    LR I noticed the same thing. Also I am just buying it wherever I see it at whatever the store is. I mean costco is talking about how hard it is to manage their supply chains you know it's bad. That's not a good sign because they are super efficient and organized at managing inventory and usually great at keeping things in stock.

    I noticed how much smaller bunches are. How things just look smaller buying in grocery or eating out. It's not a good thing. I've done target and walmart looking for canned peas and stuff.

  11. rob62521 Says:

    We've had some of the same issues here in Central Illinois. I don't know if it is lack of stock or lack of workers or a combination of both. DH likes Fritos corn chips and they haven't had any for a couple of months, supposedly a shortage. We found it sort of amusing since we live in corn and soybean country. But, it's weird what's stocked and what isn't. We try to stock up on stuff we know we use regularly. The corn chips were just a guilty pleasure, but sometimes we can't find stuff we use each week and have to make due. We are slated for a chance of a bad snow storm in the coming week and with it being also the first of the month, I anticipate a lot more empty shelves.

    Wink, glad you could find stuff, even if it wasn't exactly what you wanted.

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