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Why are certain grocery items out of stock or in limited supply?

Posted at 7:14 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 21:25:24-04

If you're heading to the grocery store this week, there's a chance what you're looking for might not be in stock.

Although the stockpiling we saw at the beginning of the pandemic is slowing down, some shelves are still not filling up.

It's an issue stores across the country are facing, including here in Acadiana. At first, shoppers struggled to find toilet paper, paper towels and other items. Now, it's canned goods like ready-to-eat meals, soda and canned alcohol in limited supply.

"We usually have a pretty good substitute for that item. We definitely advise the customers to not hoard any particular items and kind of spread the wealth," said Seth Robin, Manager at Benny's Supermarket in Opelousas.

Robin says manufacturers like Campbell's Soup, Rotel and McCormick & Company (spices) are limiting varieties and only producing their most popular products. In addition, manufacturers are struggling to get cans.

"Manufacturers are having a really hard time being able to keep up with the demand for it," Robin said. "The retailers like us are having trouble getting it because they're having problems getting it. Our suppliers are kind of in a hard situation right now where they can't get the product because the manufacturer can't get it. Our suppliers are doing the best they can."

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain says supply has been interrupted because of a drastic shift in the number of people cooking and eating at home.

"In the last six to eight weeks, the number of people eating at home has grown again," Strain said. "It was around 50% and now it's over 61%. Most common items they're grabbing are the ready to eat, the products in the cans."

Strain says though you might not get what you want at the store, there's no need to worry about running out of food.

"You want to be using last year's crop as this year's crop is coming in," Strain said. "We're about 40% through harvesting our rice. We've got the rest of the rice harvest to go and then we've got corn, beans and cotton. There will be plenty of food."

Strain expects prices at the store to incrementally increase because of supply and demand.

Meanwhile, at Benny's, they say shoppers understand the current situation.

"They know there's a lot going on right now and we're all in this together," Robin said.

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