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by Adam Roach
Food Shortages Coming to America: What you need to know
For the past couple of years, the globe has been experiencing multiple challenges, especially regarding the global food supply chain. Into the early months of 2022, numerous reported incidents of empty grocery shelves were seen all over America. The national government has warned the citizens about the food shortages and steadily increasing food prices because of many factors including the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war. Are food shortages coming to America? We're worried the answer is 'yes'.
In this article, we will be talking all about the upcoming food shortages in America and what to expect when they occur. We will also be talking about what is causing all of the food shortages in the country and the globe. Read on to learn more.
Upcoming Food Shortages in America
In May of 2022, David Beasley, the World Food Program Executive Director, warned the US lawmakers about the high-potential global food shortages that today’s generation has never seen yet. Beasley narrated that other countries such as Sri Lanka and Indonesia are now experiencing destabilization that is causing food riots all over the globe.
Despite the numerous US government hunger and nutrition programs to help appease the effects of food shortages and other food crises in the country, a lot of citizens still worry about these upcoming food shortages. Many resorts to panic buying which does not help with the shortages, especially in grocery stores seeing that numerous food products cannot be found. Instead, empty shelves are what greet the consumers.
What to Expect During a Food Shortage?
What should you expect as a consumer of the food shortage coming into the country? Multiple news outlets and experts have predicted that numerous grocery store items will be most likely out of stock for weeks. Food shortages in tomatoes are expected within the year which will affect the prices of food items such as ketchup, pasta sauce, and other tomato-based food items. Food shortages in tomatoes are caused by various factors including low crop yields worldwide and local severe drought, especially in California.
Baby Formula Shortages
A low supply of baby formula all over America is also expected to occur within the year. The production of baby formula has been halted in Abbott Nutrition because of massive flooding in Michigan which damaged their plant. What happened to Abbott Nutrition has greatly affected the country’s milk formula supply because of how much of a major supplier the company is. Another factor is how the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed production even before the flooding incident in Michigan.
Wheat is also currently in shortage status amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine—affecting the supply of various wheat-based products in America. Ukraine and Russia are major global suppliers of the said food staples thus, the recent events in the said countries have affected the world’s wheat supply chain. Another factor that has affected the shortage of supply in wheat is the export ban enacted by India to protect their country’s food security. The shortage in wheat can greatly affect the prices and stock.
Another crop that is expected to have a shortage is sugar. Brazil is one of the major global exporters of sugar. However, Brazil has recently diverted the use of their sugarcane to ethanol production rather than sugar because of the increase in fuel costs worldwide. So expect that sugar will be more costly and will probably be nowhere to be seen in your grocery stores.
America is also currently experiencing a shortage of protein such as chicken, raw meat, and eggs. This reached the point where giant fast-food chains have lessened their chicken items to cope with the shortage. This is mainly caused by the global supply chain issues which cause most of the food shortages in the country and other countries.
Canned Goods Shortage
The country is also facing a shortage of canned goods. We may have been stocking up during the pandemic due to the quarantine restrictions but the shortage has slowly been treading to our grocery stores as food manufacturers are also facing an aluminum shortage. America has been facing a reduced supply of common canned goods such as soda, canned vegetables, and canned fruit.
Why are Food Prices Constantly Increasing Lately?
With the food prices constantly increasing and even causing food shortages in America, you might be asking, what's the root cause of all this?
Basic economics states that the more scarce the supply is, the higher the prices. Moreover, the increase in the cost of materials and labor shortages also fluctuates the prices of supply. This is basically what is happening to America and all parts of the globe.
To fully understand other reasons for the constant increase in food prices and what is causing the disruption of the food supply and causing the food shortages all over America lately, here are the factors that are affecting us:
Climate change is one of the greatest factors of food insecurity and hunger in the globe. From storms and super typhoons to long periods of drought, these events greatly affect the food supply chain in the world. Crop failures that lead to food shortages are one common event that is happening globally. This also greatly affects the developing countries that are usually hit by these tragic environmental disasters, especially when their national governments do not have disaster preparedness systems or projects.
These disasters lead to crop failures, and the destruction of homes and property, which eventually disrupt food production—emptying shelves and having a short supply of certain foods, like meat, eggs, fruits, livestock, and even paper goods such as paper towels and toilet paper.
The World Supply Chain Issues
How is the globe facing a food crisis greatly affecting various countries especially those from poor and developing countries? The global supply chain issues can explain that. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain has been hit hard for more than two years already. You can see empty shelves in big box stores which is a great sign of inflation.
Prior to these events, the globe has been experiencing a significant statistic in food insecurity. Before the pandemic, the United Nations has an estimated number of 135 million people experiencing food insecurity and today it is already 276 million. This shows how much the quarantine restrictions have literally restricted the globe leading to labor shortages and eventually productions shortage and high demand in the food supply.
Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of oil and natural gas which provides Europe and various parts of the globe with 40% of its energy supply. Because of their recent invasion of Ukraine, has put a setback in their supply to the globe. And as long as the conflict in Easter Europe ensues, supply chains will be further disrupted.
As the rise in energy prices continues, so do the food costs and other services costs increase. Cargo movement is also disrupted causing various industries to adjust thus affecting the supply chains all over the globe and affecting business agility causing inflation.
Fertilizer prices have greatly affected crop yields in many countries. This increase in the costs of fertilizers is also a translation of the supply chain issues stemming from the increase in fuel costs. This has led to a shortage of fertilizer affecting the growth of crops and food costs.
Countries in the African continent are just some of the areas that are suffering from the 300 percent increase in fertilizer costs since the Russia-Ukraine war. Prices of bread, rice, and other plant-based food items have suffered because of this. Russia is a major source of fertilizer supply all over the world mainly nitrogen fertilizers and is the second largest supplier of potassium and also a large exporter of phosphorus fertilizer. Because of their recent invasion, shipping costs and energy prices have increased leading to the shortage and eventually a global food shortage.
What To Do When Food Shortages Worsen
Retailers and the government have been warning the public regarding the food shortage that will happen which means that we must be independent with our own food. However, there is no reason to panic as it is not too late to save ourselves from suffering from the food crisis and the empty shelves at the grocery store. You can plan your own emergency food supply and prepare for any natural disaster or emergency.
You can research the various food supplies that you can store in your pantries. There are also numerous emergency food supply kit choices that are available in the market that can make it easier for you and your family. You can also get tips and methods that you can use to create a sufficient and efficient emergency food supply.