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Food in the time of a pandemic


haresfur
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Noticed while grocery shopping this weekend that the Walmart Neighborhood grocery store was having supply chain issues with some products.

Of the empty shelves I saw the only one I can recall was in the cracker aisle where they were missing quite a lot of Ritz crackers. Normally there would be 6 shelves vertically holding the different kinds of Ritz crackers but about 4 shelves were empty.

It's not easy to figure out what was in an empty space unless you consult the shelf product price labels (which I have a hard time reading anyway!).

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I am stocking up on cat food, since I have seen depleted supplies of the canned goods, and of course picky cats have favorite flavors😁. At Walmart today I thought the canned cranberry sauce was missing from the shelf, but realized they had a couple of pallets in an aisle. Of course we grow cranberries around here, so theoretically I should be able to get fresh ones, too.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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An interesting piece by Paul Krugman in NYT talking about supply chain issues and basically saying people switched from spending money on experiences (pre-Covid) to spending on consumer goods and this huge surge in consumer goods demand is the issue. When people feel safer to live their lives, they will switch some spending back to experiences and this will relieve much of the supply chain issues. 

 

And I wonder if the empty shelves people are seeing here and there are not the result of the whole stocking-up and/or hoarding thing again. 

 

We don't seem to have those empty shelves in groceries here on Vancouver Island, not sure why that is. 

 

My husband and I just bought a new house and had to find new appliances and that was tricky. But everyone seems to have decided to redo their kitchen over the past year, so I think it could be just a continuing surge in demand. 

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35 minutes ago, kayb said:

Walmart Neighborhood Market had no whole milk yesterday. Two percent only.

 


The one I visited this morning had Great Value brand whole milk in gallons, but not half gallons or smaller.  I got the 2% half gallon.

Edited by robirdstx (log)
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14 hours ago, FauxPas said:

An interesting piece by Paul Krugman in NYT talking about supply chain issues and basically saying people switched from spending money on experiences (pre-Covid) to spending on consumer goods and this huge surge in consumer goods demand is the issue. When people feel safer to live their lives, they will switch some spending back to experiences and this will relieve much of the supply chain issues.

 

This article in the Atlantic had a similar thesis, and noted that contrary to what you'd expect from the news, imports into the US are actually at an all time high.

 

14 hours ago, FauxPas said:

And I wonder if the empty shelves people are seeing here and there are not the result of the whole stocking-up and/or hoarding thing again. 

 

I suspect this is also true, if only because in our highly vaccinated corner of the country, we've seen way fewer shortages than people seem to be reporting elsewhere. Less panic, so less panic buying.

 

I was inside a grocery store yesterday for the first time ever (to get my booster!) and there was almost nothing out of stock. Some sparse shelves in dairy (sliced and shredded cheese, and certain brands of yogurt) but nothing else missing that I could see.

Edited by dtremit (log)
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The local grocery stores have all but abandoned Halloween and are completely focused on Thanksgiving now. The Walmart Neighborhood store had a gazillion bottles of turkey marinade for injecting lining the freezers around their frozen food section. Didn't get a look at the brand but they seemed to have bought quite a lot of it. Makes me wonder if they own stock in the company.xD Plus they had hams for sale, too. We always get a ham along with the turkey for Thanksgiving since a lot of people don't like turkey.

The thing about Walmart is they don't put stuff on sale after the holiday is over and done. They still expect you to pay the full price for it. Holiday candy included. No thanks.

The local VONS/Albertsons had a full baking supply section on display, from ingredients like flour, sugar, etc., to baking pans and cookie sheets. Too soon for me to even think about it...

 

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I shudder to think how much produce is possibly going bad on the big cargo ships stuck off shore.  My usual is Ralphs (Kroger). I go around 7:30 am so few customers but that is when they stock. There were  few things missing the other day but they may have been on the loading dock. Overall no gaps. Produce  excellent stock. They have this odd big bin now near one entrance that has small sizes of things like crackers, cereal, peanut butter - huh? Emergency supplies?  I forgot to do recon on turkeys - will ask butchers next time.

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18 hours ago, Jacksoup said:

I was in Costco today, did not seem to be a shortage of anything.  Food prices are higher for some things like bacon.  Limit of one per customer Costco sized toilet paper.

 

Costco really plans ahead. They are renting their own container ships and sometimes redirecting them to different ports of entry than usual

 

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The Atlantic also has a story about this.


 

Quote

 

As the holidays approach, many people have begun to worry that shortages will worsen, not just for kids’ toys and other popular gifts, but for holiday decorations, seasonal clothing, and even food—the things that make the end of the year special. Despite those concerns, few seem willing to acknowledge that the record amount of stuff being brought into the country isn’t merely disappearing off store shelves. We know where it’s going, and we know who’s buying it all up. They—and maybe you—could simply knock it off.

[...]

Through the course of the pandemic, the situation has become even more lopsided. The affluent group spent much of 2020 working from home, largely insulated from mass unemployment and socking away the lion’s share of what Bloomberg Economics estimates as $2.3 trillion in extra cash that this group’s members might have otherwise spent on vacations or restaurant meals. Population-wide gains in spending power largely haven’t accrued to people with the most quality of life to gain from buying a few more things—they’ve gone to people for whom shopping is already a way of life. After taking a dive in the first months of a pandemic, spending from this group began to rebound relatively quickly as fears of white-collar layoffs dissipated and people began sprucing up their houses and yards and wardrobes. Since this summer, the group’s shopping has escalated further, even as spending among people with lower incomes has fallen. The relatively well-off have returned to stores with money burning a hole in their pockets, gobbling up designer handbags, fine champagnenew carsteeth whiteners, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

 

The problem with the explosion of this kind of discretionary shopping is that the same logistical resources that make this spike possible are also needed in other parts of the economy. The goods necessary to make school lunches—a vitally important civic function—might not be available for reasons that have nothing to do with how much food is theoretically available. Experienced workers and truck space and loading docks and time itself are not limitless resources. In a system asked to function beyond its capacity, if the distributor of hundred-dollar throw pillows can pay more for access to trucking capacity than a local food distributor that serves schools can, then their pillows go on the truck.

 

 

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I'm assuming it's the supply chain, again.

This past Saturday the Walmart Neighborhood grocery store was completely out of...wait for it...Lunchables! :S

And sadly, their Pepperidge Farm cookies were wiped out, as well. No Milanos for you! xD

The disposable "Gladware"-type of containers were also mostly gone:

0000poc01.jpg.0f0106f24dbfab3a584bcfcfc307f5d2.jpg

Perhaps buyers were getting ready for their Thanksgiving leftovers. :B

 

Saturday's date was October 30th and Walmart was busy stocking Christmas candy:

0000poc02.jpg.1c546a55d8fd7aaf531466106f95d815.jpg

Halloween was the next day and they had one carton of Reese's Halloween=themed Peanut Butter cups and that was it.

I guess "ya snooze, ya lose"! :D

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I asked the butcher at Ralphs/Kroger about the turkey supply this year. He said their first load is due in this week - we shall see. Have you guys seen the turkey promos yet this year. You know buy X$ and pay only Y/lb

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7 minutes ago, heidih said:

I asked the butcher at Ralphs/Kroger about the turkey supply this year. He said their first load is due in this week - we shall see. Have you guys seen the turkey promos yet this year. You know buy X$ and pay only Y/lb

 

Plenty of turkeys around here. May be more expensive...not sure.

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

I asked the butcher at Ralphs/Kroger about the turkey supply this year. He said their first load is due in this week - we shall see. Have you guys seen the turkey promos yet this year. You know buy X$ and pay only Y/lb

Local supermarket, Shop Rite, has the promo again this year, $400 accumulated purchases during the month before gets you the free bird - whole turkey or bone-in breast.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I did a curbside order at BJs yesterday; they are running the same promo as last year - buy $100 of specific manufacturer goods and you get a free frozen Butterball turkey.  No advertising yet from the local supermarkets about whole bird prices.

 

When I called the local turkey farm to place an order, they have nothing under 13# available and it's $4.29/pound.  I can't remember what it was last year to know if it's a big increase.  Pick up this year is the Mon/Tue/Wed from 8 to 6; they will allow 6 people in the store at a time.  I'm anticipating a long line - I'm planning to go first thing that Monday morning.  They aren't taking orders for side dishes; if you want a turkey pie, you have to order and pick up on a separate day.

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The Lunchables still remain stuck somewhere in the supply chain. They could be sitting on a dock somewhere, unrefrigerated, and Walmart will still sell them to their customers (allegedly :B ).

Here's a pic of the empty shelves dedicated to Lunchables at the Walmart Grocery store up the street from me:

lunchables.jpg.ba60ac9a760615b4b4ffe560e8c202b7.jpg

And now the Ritz crackers are stocked but the Keebler Club crackers (some dark green boxes left on the center shelf) have mostly gone missing. Damn those elves! :D

ritz.jpg.c58d7750ecd63c35db3783f9718522ca.jpg

And the missing Gladware, etc., previously pictured in my older post, all still remain missing. :(

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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It's been weeks, and Shoprite still does not have their house brand of organic cranberry sauce I like.  (And of which I'd grabbed the last two cans some while ago.)  The sauce was recently on sale.  However the sale came and went with no product to be had.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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14 hours ago, IndyRob said:

The shortages seem to be supplier specific.  For instance, recently ALDI seemed to be completely out of apple juice, while Kroger had plenty and was putting it on sale.

 

I think a lot of the shelf-stable shortages are actually shortages of packaging, rather than product. So it may be that Aldi's apple juice bottle is out of stock...

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