The global pandemic created various unexpected problems as supply chain issues impacted the availability of consumers’ well-loved products. Although consumers’ current grocery basket spending is higher than usual, savings are in a comfortable position for most Americans, and consumers are expecting inflation to cool in 2023.
The Chicken and the Egg
Domestically, the U.S. agricultural industry is fielding a variety of challenges to its livestock supplies. Environmental stressors, such as habitat loss, climate change, and disease, impact everything from honey bees to chickens.
Most people are feeling the impact of the bird flu, which primarily affects poultry, specifically egg-laying hens and chickens raised for meat. In recent weeks, chicken farmers have experienced significant disruptions to egg and poultry production, leading to shortages and increased consumer prices. Similar to the toilet paper panic we’re seeing, shoppers scramble to stock up on eggs before supplies run out. With fluctuating inflation rates, grocers are cashing in on the “golden egg” as its new luxury product. Some stores that have trouble maintaining inventory are taking extreme measures, limiting the number of eggs, or cartons, that customers can buy.
First, toilet paper, then eggs. It’s hard to predict what inflation will impact next. So we crowdsourced shoppers in national grocery aisles for a pulse check. Shoppers cited everything from vegetable shortening to strawberries to pine nuts, cauliflower and rice with wickedly high pricing.
Last week at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, experts suggested that peanut butter, coffee, and cereal prices would increase. According to Consumer Affairs, the higher cost of production on shortening and cooking oil will contribute to the rising costs of vegetable shortening brands like Crisco. And analysts anticipate bottlenecked supply chains to impact the global imports of produce. A local nonprofit news organization in Baltimore price-checked several staples with similar results and perhaps a few surprises, including bananas, potato chips and Old Bay seasoning.
Have you experienced the effects of the egg shortage in your area? Share details with me on LinkedIn, or hit me up with a photo on Twitter.