The shortage in US supermarkets continues due to the Omicron variant and snowstorms.


The shortage in US supermarkets continues due to the Omicron variant and snowstorms.

The shortage of products began to be seen last year, and in 2022 the situation will not improve immediately—cream cheese, baby formula, and canned goods among the biggest missing.

Still going. America's supermarkets have empty shelves. Moreover, the phenomenon that began in the middle of the pandemic has worsened in recent weeks with the vertiginous spread of the Omicron variant and the shallow temperatures with snowstorms that have hit the country's northeast since the beginning of 2022.

In general, all consumer products cost more expensive. As reported today, inflation in the last year has been 7 percent, the highest since 1982. But beyond the value, some products are not found due to problems in the distribution chain.

"The shortage depends on the product and the region. The causes of shortages are related to problems in the distribution chain, a change in user behavior, or inclement weather," explained Curt Covington, senior institutional director of credit at AgAmerica. This non-governmental organization is responsible for studying the market trends.

The ports have been congested for months due to a lack of personnel - related to people who get sick from COVID 19 - and an increase in the consumption of products sold online - derived from a change in the consumption habit during the confinements-. This makes imported products scarce. But there is also a shortage of locally produced products.

With the arrival of the Omicron variant, infections soared. That means there are fewer workers in the factories. As a result, many offices and schools in the country are closed, leading people to buy more products at home. In addition, since the first week of the year, intense snowstorms have hit the center and northeast of the country, blocking roads and slowing down air traffic.

According to the Association of Consumer Brands, Geoff Freeman, usually, a supermarket is missing between 5 and 10 percent of the products. Today, at least 15 percent of the products are missing.

A study by the consulting firm KPMG indicates that 71 percent of consumers in the country's supermarkets are between somewhat and very concerned with the lack of products, and 35 percent of them have stated that they had to change brands for not finding the one they used to buy.

One of the largest hypermarket chains in the country, Costco, has established a purchase limit for specific products to prevent them from running out.

What are the most scarce products?

Baby formula tops the list. For the first week of the year, 20 percent of these products were missing from supermarkets on a national average.

"We are experiencing obstacles in the production and distribution of our products. As the pandemic continues, the distribution chain continues to be more complicated. We appreciate your patience while we overcome the problems of this dynamic situation", they indicated in a message on the social network Twitter from the official account of Enfamil, a leading brand in baby formula milk.

Another widely reported product in short supply is cream cheese, particularly from the leading brand Philadelphia. This problem has led to fewer traditional cheesecake desserts being seen during the holidays.

And, without a doubt, the category that has been scarce the most is canned products. But it is not due to a lack of the product itself but to a shortage of aluminum to produce the cans.