The pandemic, increased spending, energy shortages in Asia and Europe, and worker shortages have all combined to create a tangle of bottlenecks in our global supply chain. Here is a short list of things that might be affected this fall and winter.
This isn’t a call to hoard though. We simply want you to be aware of trends we are seeing. No need to panic-buy or go crazy. That is how things completely vanish from shelves and cause bigger problems. Just pick up a couple extra things when you do your normal shopping.
1. Meat – This mainly comes down to the worker shortage. There just aren’t enough hands to keep up with demand. You may have noticed rising prices for meats. This will most likely continue. Poultry is being hit especially hard. You may want to buy your turkey for Thanksgiving early and keep it frozen until you need it.
2. Aluminum – Canned goods became even more in demand during the pandemic. Aluminum supplies are low. You may have already noticed some issues finding your favorite soda in cans. This may also affect other canned goods, like fruits, vegetables, soups, and such. You could see some switches to plastic and glass from these, though glass has some shortages too.
3. Paper Products – Unfortunately, the last couple years have taught people to hoard toilet paper and paper towels as soon as shelves look bare. There isn’t really a shortage, but people are scooping these up. Go easy and only buy what you need.
4. Produce – The worker shortages and power outages overseas have caused many fertilizer plants to slow down. This may work its way into the supply chain mess shortly to affect prices and availability of some produce. Fall and winter is a time we get much of our produce from outside the United States as well, with shipping a bit of a mess.
5. Soda – The fertilizer plants create a byproduct that goes into many other things, carbon dioxide. Those bubbles may be harder to find.
7. Dry Ice – Same as soda, dry ice comes from excess carbon dioxide.
8. Packaged Foods – Many packaged foods in pouches, bags, and tins rely on carbon dioxide to keep from spoiling. You may see some gaps in shelves or shorter expiration dates on foods.
9. Matcha – So far, we haven’t been as affected as many other foods. Japan hasn’t been hit as hard as China when it comes to food production and shipping, but we have seen longer and pricier shipping happening while being forced to use smaller containers. There is a shipping container shortage around the globe compounded by a worker shortage at the docks in LA, where many things arrive from Asia, including Japan. Now isn’t the worst time to pick up some extra matcha. We are still planning a big sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so take advantage then too.
10. Electronics – Chip manufacturing has taken a big hit the last two years with the pandemic. Energy problems, shipping delays, and worker shortages are not helping. These tiny chips go into toys, phones, gaming systems, and more. Electronics are going to be slim pickings this year. You may want to do some of your holiday shopping early.
11. Autos – Those chips go into new cars too. We have seen a huge demand for used cars partly due to this lack of newer cars coming in. This looks to continue.
12. Natural Gas – Europe is having energy problems, with a lack of reserves of natural gas to cover the demands of winter. This has made coal, oil, and gasoline prices soar too, which is affecting more countries each day. The United States is somewhat insulated, with more reserves, but the global demand will drive prices higher. We are unlikely to lose power for days or weeks like others are seeing out there, but you should expect some sticker shock at the pump, when refilling propane, and when you open electric and gas bills this winter.
13. Halloween Costumes – Halloween is coming up quick. You may want to get a costume sooner than later. Slow shipping and worker shortages means fewer available and less likely to be replenished quickly.
14. Christmas Décor – Christmas décor may see the same trend as Halloween costumes. You should pick up your lights, ornaments, and tinsels earlier this year.
Stay safe, stay warm, and stay happy out there this year.