Grocery Stores Battle Supply Chain Crunch

Supply chain struggles are nearly just as bad now as they were in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
grocery store

That’s according to grocery retailers who told The Wall Street Journal new problems are appearing by the day, from labor shortages to lack of raw materials. Many products are hard to source, including frozen waffles and beverages, while other categories are running short on supply. Retailers expect the disruptions, worsened by logistical challenges, to continue into 2022.

For some grocery retailers, the challenges are dramatic. Louisiana-based Rouses Markets, which includes a chain of 60 grocery stores, has reported that sometimes just 40% of what the retailer has ordered actually arrives in stores, making it tough to stock shelves. 

“It is difficult for customers to get everything they want to get,” Donny Rouse, CEO of the supermarket company, told the WSJ.

For a lot of grocery companies, there’s not much that can be done when supply trucks show up without complete orders. The conditions are challenging, and some retailers are downsizing their assortment as a result. Whether offering fewer flavors or selling different brands, retailers are trying to make it work. 

However, bigger companies can often weather the storm better, as they are more in control of their supply chains and inventory after investing in their own drivers and vehicles. 

Part of the issue is the lack of raw materials, such as resin and aluminum. While sky-high demand for other products, including Kraft Heinz's Lunchables and Conagra Brands' Hunt's tomato products, is driving shortages. In fact, in some categories, the demand is “unprecedented,” the WSJ reported.