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The Real Reasons Why Things are Out of Stock Right Now
The covid virus has caused many folks to be shut in to their homes and wait for safer times to venture out.
That said, most of us will still have to brave the supermarket to get food and the basic necessities. Although there are suddenly no more mouths to feed, whey are their shortages at the at the supermarket right now?
1) Psychological - when folks sense that tougher times are on the horizon, they strive to make sure they have the basics that they need while it's available and they have the money to get it.
2) Practical - every time you come in contact with someone, you increase the odds of getting infected. It therefore makes more sense to buy more than you normally would so you can ultimately make fewer trips to the grocery store.
3) Unexpected - there will be items you need to buy that you wouldn't have considered previously. Did you buy hyrdogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bleach, plastic gloves and facemasks much before? Likely not - and now everybody wants them, so massive net new demand creates the shortages here.
4) Consumption changes - a big one here is "eating out". In the past few years, in the USA anyway, people actually spent MORE eating out than they did eating at home. So a large part of their food budget was spent in restaurants and bars. Now? Many of these places are shuttered due to covid. And what about students? There are 1000s of lunch programs at schools that provide served meals that are no longer being served because many schools are now shuttered. People still have to eat, so they are actually going to the store and buying food like they didn't before - once again creating a large amount of demand that wasn't there before. It will take time for the system to adjust for the fact that huge amounts of prepared food are no longer being consumed at risky restaurants but now in the safety of homes.
5) Boredom - quite frankly when folks have more time on their hands, most will end up eating and drinking more.
6) Direct Processing shutdowns - in the case of some foods, the actual processors have had to shut down or reduce production because their workers are sick or at high risk of getting sick. We are seeing this now with meat processing plants. This will likely create some shortages for e.g. beef in the coming months. As well, some farmers are having difficulty getting seasonal workers to plant, harvest and maintain crops - due to border restrictions or workers concerned about the spread of the virus.
7) Reflection - some individuals are trying to deal with the current covid issue by solving multiple problems at once. To deal with depression, food shortages and helping the planet, many have decided to start growing food. Gardening will bring in fresh healthy produce regardless of whether there are shortages. Gardening also provides a worthwhile task that has been proven to reduce depression, and greeehouse gasses - as your produce doesn't come from thousands of miles away so fewer fossil fuels are burned to bring it to your mouth.
So there you have it. It all makes sense when you think about it. A lot of these problems will go away in the next few months.