You Can Overcome Your Empty Grocery Store

If you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you may have noticed: It’s March 2020 again. At least that’s what it looks like, maybe worse. Due to harsh winter weather, cumulative supply chain disruptions, and continued staffing shortages due to the surge in COVID cases, stocks of some items in grocery stores across the country have been severely reduced. Which subjects? Well, it depends on the store and the day.

Why are the shelves so bare?

Several factors converged to create the perfect food shortage storm. In one report , “the nation’s truckers told CBS News they had 80,000 drivers short of what they needed.” And this at a time when consumer demand for groceries, according to Food Industry Association’s Doug Baker, has surged 50% since the start of the pandemic.

Baker told CBS News , “It will be weeks before we see relief,” and there is no way to know which items will be affected next. “It’s like hitting the mole. If you don’t see it today, you will probably see it tomorrow.”

But it can be much more expensive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , gasoline prices rose a staggering 58% between November 2020 and November 2021, while food prices rose 6% (with beef prices up 13%, eggs 11% and fresh fruits). by 8%).

So what can you do if you can’t find your favorite everyday items? Here are some tips besides buying in a panic .

Check online

We don’t mean just ordering from Amazon or Fresh Direct, although both are viable options. Many large grocery chains have location settings that allow you to check if an item is in stock at another nearby store. If your store doesn’t have your family’s favorite dumplings, check out their website or delivery apps like FreshDirect, Instacart, and Peapod to find where they might be in stock.

Expand your stores

There has never been a better time to patronize your local farmers’ market. Similarly, independent shops and grocers specializing in certain nationalities that don’t see as many customers as big chains will often have hard-to-find ingredients on hand. If Safeway doesn’t have it, try your nearest Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, or Latin American market, which might have what you need and inspire you to make a new dish.

Food delivery services may also have a larger offer. Friends who used Misfits Market , HelloFresh , and EveryPlate reported no shortage of food and scheduled weekly deliveries.

Maybe you usually go to Target or Walmart for things like school supplies and leggings. But don’t forget the food! While you won’t find organic produce, they do have plenty of essentials, from eggs and frozen vegetables to fresh fruit and various ground beef options.

And, like people who travel to red counties to get hard-to-find booster immunizations and COVID tests, you might have better luck if you go to a nearby city or a store that caters to a different demographic than your regular store.

Use fewer ingredients and make substitutions

Maybe it’s time to cut back on cooking. Instead of making crunchy dumplings with popped tomatoes, leeks and mozzarella, how about sausage elbow pasta? Ditch fancy gear in favor of simplification. A Google search for ” low-ingredient dishes ” will instantly turn up thousands of recipes or invest in a cookbook of the same kind.

Choose snacks and meals whose ingredients are interchangeable – where any fruit or vegetable can be substituted. For example, Greek yogurt with honey and blueberries (or cherries or raspberries). Chicken and vegetables (you can mix frozen, canned peas or, if you’re lucky, fresh asparagus). If rice and quinoa aren’t enough, experiment with other less widely used grains like bulgur, farro, or millet.

Freeze food

We all know the benefits of buying in bulk. But have you ever thought about freeze-drying food to keep it fresh longer (up to 30 years)? You probably won’t need it for that long (hopefully), but if you buy more of your most used items when they’re available, your freeze-dried fruit, vegetable, meat, and dairy stash will certainly serve you well into the future.

Lower your standards and don’t lose anything

If you’re a die-hard snob who only eats fresh fruit, it’s time to let go of morality. Stock up on frozen vegetables and fruits or canned food, but make sure they aren’t packaged in sugary syrup or floating in a high-sodium bath. If you’ve never liked the taste of frozen vegetables, use butter, olive oil, garlic salt, cheese, herbs, or lemon juice to enhance their flavor.

And, as my friend put it so well: “When it comes to food shortages, I am a military grandma. Nothing is missing.” Use these hacks to manage your leftovers so you don’t forget about them, and don’t throw away cheese slices or freezer-burned chicken cutlets. Cut, scrape and move on.

Call your whatsapp groups

We joke, but only partly. Reach out to your communities for advice. Social media platforms like WhatsApp, NextDoor, Facebook, and Craigslist can tell you where other people in your area have recently found a sought-after item. Of course, you can start with your close network of family and friends before heading to your city’s Facebook group – we don’t necessarily want everyone to know where to find the city’s only supply of cream cheese.

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