Steve Howard, vice president of marketing for Bristol Farms, a California grocery chain, said shortages of food manufacturers and key consumers for some items “will be a challenge in the grocery industry” in the final months of the year. Suppliers are warning the company of a “potential shortage” of food, glassware and packaging containers. In response, Howard said, Bristol Farms is working to bring in stock “earlier than any other holiday ever”.
Steve Schwartz, director of sales for the New York-area chain, said purchasing limits from manufacturers were rare before the pandemic and create “less than perfect conditions” for customers in Morton Williams stores. Morton Williams tries to take advantage of secondary suppliers when sellers of food and household necessities can’t keep up.
“This is not your ideal situation,” Schwartz said. Some customers tolerate when they can’t find what they’re looking for. But others “just want to know why they can’t get their stuff.”
The shortage of grocery stores hasn’t been as obvious as it was at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, when shoppers flocked to stores to stock up on food and essential goods. But supply in grocery store aisles has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and companies like Costco and Sam’s Club recently restored purchasing limits for customers on paper products and cleaning supplies.
Before the pandemic, 7% to 10% of products were not available on shelves, according to the International Research Institute (IRI).
When supply is tight, manufacturers often get rid of some of their marginal items to focus on increasing production of best-selling products, said Krishnakumar Devi, head of the strategic analytics practice at the International Republican Institute. They also tend to cut out products that are more expensive to manufacture, according to Davey.
Some food brands charge provisions, or a maximum purchase limit, for certain products at grocery stores and distributors, while other sellers generally warn of limited availability. Suppliers usually place products on assignment when there is a shortage of supply.
The four distributors shared the email with CNN Business on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing their relationships with suppliers.
Kellogg’s spokesman, Chris Bahner, said in an email that the company has seen an increase in demand since the start of the pandemic as people eat more meals at home. Bahner said the company works with retailers to “ensure our food flows through their systems,” and in cases where capacity is tight, it limits orders during certain time periods. The company did not say how many retailers received allotment notifications.
Mondelez is experiencing “limited availability” for items such as Mondelez estimated in the email that the “refund date” for these items would be February or March of next year, the company said in an email sent to a distributor on October 1st.
A spokesperson for the multinational food and beverage company said in an email that the company faces “high labor demand” and “logistical challenges.” Mondelez believes it is “relatively well positioned to meet market challenges and will continue to monitor things closely” to get products to retail customers and shoppers on time. The company also did not say how many retailers received restrictions on such items, but said “we are preparing communications that our sales team can use, as appropriate, as they interact with their customers.”
Unilever told a distributor in an email on September 14 that “labor shortages continue to drive limited ability to meet demand” and that it was not prioritizing production over some products. Including flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Cold Brew Caramel Latte and Sammie Ice Cream, Breyers Vanilla Fudge Twirl Ice Cream and Firecracker lollipops “so we can go back to the steady state of the show.” The company said it would instead focus on “business hours on our bestselling items.”
“Like many industries, there are sometimes challenges getting all of our products into stores, for a variety of sourcing and distribution reasons,” a spokesperson for Unilever told CNN in an email.
Packaging issues also continue to be an issue. For example, some spices are in short supply due to the difficulty in purchasing bottles.
A McCormick representative said in an email to two distributors on September 20 that “the US bottle supplier has been closed due to a Covid-related issue and we haven’t received bottles for several weeks” for the gourmet seasoning line. “The shortage of bottles has affected our production and eroded our safety stocks across the entire line,” the representative said. As a result, McCormick said, it will ship nearly 70% of what it previously expected, and the company has been encouraging customers to cancel their November and December promotions for its spice line.
“Gourmet is the only product line affected by the lack of packaging,” McCormick spokeswoman Lori Robinson said in an email to CNN Business, and the company’s most popular red-lid seasoning will be fully available throughout the holidays, which she said customers can use as a replacement seasoning, she said. gourmet; The company did not say how many retailers received allotment notifications on gourmet seasoning.
and some sizes Frozen Marie Callender pot pies can be hard to find.
Conagra said in a September 27 email to a distributor that it was placing a customization on 10-ounce and 15-ounce Marie Callender pies through November 29 because they “had encountered packaging challenges from the tray supplier and cartons which resulted in production being halted.”
Konagra did not respond to requests for comment.
CNN Business’s Danielle Wiener Brunner contributed to this article.