Shortages of meat, coffee, dairy and frozen foods spread as consumers stock up

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Welcome to the Thomas Index report for the week of March 7.

Seeing empty store shelves during a recent grocery run may have reminded you of shopping shortages in 2020. Despite expectations that stockpiling would come to a halt as food and other resources became increasingly available at the Over the past year, reports note that consumers are still purchasing additional foods and staples because of continued uncertainty about product availability.

Bulk retail brands like Costco saw an 18% increase increase in sales volume in Q4 2021 compared to 2019. Although shortages are not as intense or widespread as they were in 2020, consumers are concerned about running out of supply…even if their reactions to these concerns potentially exacerbate the availability problem of supply.

Shortages mainly affect foodstuffsincluding dairy, meat, coffee, frozen cookies and potatoes, grain products like cereal and pasta, and canned foods like soda and pet food.

Our data show that demand for frozen food on the Thomasnet.com platform jumped 163% year over year, and request for coffee is up 54% over the same period. Relatedly, demand for contract food manufacturing was also up 366% year-over-year and 233% from last quarter’s figures.

While grocery stores are typically out of stock on 5-10% of their items during a typical day, that out-of-stock rate is around 15% right now, according to the Consumer Brand Association. These stock-outs are caused by a combination of factors, including labor shortages due to COVID-19 among store employees, shipping delays, weather impacts on harvesting and shipping, price increases for packaging raw materials and other supply chain disruptions. Despite these current challenges, the The USDA expects Supply to the US food market is expected to become increasingly stable, with prices potentially falling, in the near future.

I’m Shawn Fitzgerald, and this is the Thomas Index report.

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