We are all too familiar with empty grocery shelves that stemmed from the 2020 pandemic. Following the February 24th Russian invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, we may soon be having what feels like Daja Vu in our grocery stores across the globe.
World food prices have hit an all-time high in March, a United Nations agency said, adding to concerns about the risk of hunger around the world. On March 24, 2022, President Biden warned of food shortages due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “It’s going to be real,” he said of food shortages. “The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia; it’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well. Both Russia and Ukraine have been the breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat, for example—just to give you one example.”
According to PARADE the disruption in export flows resulting from the invasion and international sanctions against Russia has spurred fears of a global hunger crisis, especially across the Middle East and Africa, where the knock-on effects are already playing out.
According to Aljazeera News Russia and Ukraine, whose vast grain-growing regions are among the world’s main breadbaskets, account for a huge share of the globe’s exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn, their prices reached their highest levels ever last month.
FAO or the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said the war in Ukraine was largely responsible for the 17.1 percent rise in the price of grains, including wheat and others like oats, barley, and corn. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for approximately 30 percent and 20 percent of global wheat and corn exports, respectively.
So what can we expect to see in short supply at our grocery stores this year? Well, in conjunction with the war, there are other factors at play, like a labor shortage, high transportation costs, and cyberattacks that have slowed supply chains just to name a few. Here are our shortage predictions below...
Meat shortages, especially beef and poultry, meat and poultry are in short supply in many supermarkets. This is due to several factors, with manufacturing plant labor shortages causing most of the issues. Beef will likely see the most shortages because work in beef plants is more labor-intensive, according to Food Business News. As well as some meat plants that were subjected to cyberattacks in the last quarter of 2021, and they’re still feeling those effects today.
Dairy may be in short supply this year as well. Expensive crops to feed livestock and chickens, combined with high transportation costs and shortages of packaging materials (especially plastics) may cause dairy shortages at your local supermarket. In addition to material shortages, labor shortages may also impact grocery shelves in terms of transportation workers as well as grocery workers to stock the dairy case. As a result, you may have fewer options in terms of your usual purchases of milk, cheese (especially cream cheese also reeling from cyberattacks), yogurt, and other dairy items.
Speaking of plastics, bottled water and soda shortages may occur.
Because there isn’t enough plastic for supply to meet demand, you may experience shortages of things like bottled water, juices, and other soft drinks.
There may be an egg shortage in 2022. Similar to other food shortages we’ve encountered, COVID-related supply chain issues have interrupted the business side of commercial egg production. Increased expenses (feed, freight, labor costs), supply shortages, and government regulation have put a strain on the overall bottom line. As a result, producers may be reducing flock sizes, stopping shipping to some states, or selling eggs previously sold to consumers to manufacturers who use them as ingredients in other products, thus reducing the eggs available in supermarkets.
Plant-based proteins may be in short supply this year too. Sorry vegans!
If you thought not eating meat or dairy would spare you from shortages, you'd be mistaken. Plant-based proteins (think tofu, almond milk, soy-based cheeses, etc.) have seen shortages due to a huge rise in demand for plant-based food as animal-meat processors were forced to shut down operations.
We may also see a shortage in paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels. The same supply chain issues, labor shortages due to illness, etc. may cause this shortage, which got us thinking... it might just be the perfect time to invest in a bidet!