The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to b felt across Florida with gas prices rising, the death toll still ticking upwards and now food shortages at supermarkets.
The past year and a half has been difficult with Covid upending the lives of almost everybody. With the vaccination program making headway, life is starting to return to normal but the effect of the virus on global supply chains is now being felt.
School menus have been affected in Tri-County Area, with one school, East Peoria Elementary School 86, struggling. Here's what District 86 Associate Superintendent Jason Warner had to say:
“Our district has already had to move menus around and substitute items, we have worked with our suppliers to find suitable replacement items."
Not only are shortages affecting supermarkets, but they're also affecting the menus at many elementary schools. Deliveries are still being made to the school, but the shipments are often missing certain items, with a full batch rare as supply shortages squeeze the industry.
The reason for these supply chains issues is that Covid-19 has affected almost every aspect of the supply chain. From lorry drivers transporting goods, to fewer dockworkers to unload all the shipping containers arriving at ports. It's a perfect storm of labor shortages that are being dealt with by almost everyone in the state.
This reason was highlighted by David Menachof, an associate professor and director at Florida Atlantic University's Masters in Supply Chain Management program. Here's what he had to say on the matter:
"It's not just that there's too many container ships and we're trying to supply everything, the ports themselves just cannot load and unload those containers fast enough and if they could there are just not enough rail cars and truckers to take the containers out of the Port to allow more space to unload additional containers, if you lined them (containers) up end to end it would stretch from LA to the Mississippi River, so that is a lot of containers containing a lot of product."
Due to the shortages, people are panic buying to ensure they have food at home. This then has a knock-on effect, as the more people who panic buy, the less food there is on the shelves and more and more people start panic buying as a result. The solution is to stop panic buying, but this is easier said than done. Especially when people see empty shelves when they do their weekly shop.
In comments that might not appeal to everyone, Menachof appealed for people to be patient and flexible to allow the supply chain issues to ease:
"It's almost like playing the game 'Whack-a-Mole'. We're gonna see shortages, you just will not know exactly what product at what time, it's just gonna randomly, seemingly randomly going around, and when the shortage comes you'll see the resupply, we have to avoid the idea of panic buying because all that does is put an excess demand on that product."
Whether the issues will ease is another story. With supply chains likely to be affected for months to come, shortages could be a recurring theme in the run-up to the holiday season.
What are your thoughts on the food shortages? Are there shortages at your local supermarket? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.