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Supply chain issues impacting Florida grocery shoppers

'The shelves are starting to get a little empty,' Port St. Lucie shopper says
Meat shelf at a Lake Park grocery, Jan. 12, 2022
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 18:17:44-05

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Supply chain problems continue to impact the shelves at some local grocery stores, causing a shortage of a variety of items.

Loading her trunk full of groceries is a daily chore for shopper Nancy McGuire, but recently she has had trouble finding a few of her favorites.

"Things are getting scarce," McGuire said.

RELATED: Inflation rates jumped 7% in last year, the biggest increase since 1982

Inside her local grocery stores and big-box stores in Port St. Lucie, she's been unable to find certain items on her shopping list.

"The shelves are starting to get a little empty. They limit the amount of stuff you can buy," McGuire said.

Port St. Lucie shopper Nancy McGuire speaks about shortage of goods, Jan. 12, 2022
Nancy McGuire speaks about the ongoing supply-chain problems at her local grocery stores in St. Lucie County.

On store shelves, there is now a small selection of some dairy products like half and half.

Frozen potatoes and french fries are hard to come by. Many shelves are empty on the cereal aisle.

"The ketchup, the mustard, different sizes. They were out of that as well," said shopper Shelanda Green.

The shortages are widespread, impacting many parts of the country.

"Typical out of stock will run around 7-10 percent during normal times. What we're seeing now for food products, specifically, is about 15 percent," said Katie Denis, vice president of research and industry narrative at the Consumer Brands Association.

Katie Denis, Consumer Brands Association spokeswoman
Katie Denis says many workers have been sick with omicron in the last month, impacting the supply chain.

Denis said right now the demand for goods is at the same level we saw at the very beginning of the pandemic. Shortages have grown worse with the highly-contagious omicron variant.

"There's far too many people out, and the ability to get product into stores has been hindered by that," Denis said.

Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said deliveries are being made to stores daily, so shoppers shouldn't start to "panic buy" like at the start of the pandemic.

"The supermarket supply chain is under a lot of stress, impacted by product and labor shortages, demand, record exports, shipping constraints, and inflation," Brous said. "We continue to maintain constant communication with our suppliers; however, various product lines may be out of stock in assorted categories."

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Brous said the availability of items will vary from store to store and the time of day.

Statements like this do little to satisfy shoppers, who would like to see full shelves like before the pandemic started.

"Everybody is tired of this. There has to be a way to fix this," McGuire said.

She is now hoping these shortages are short-lived, and the shelves get fully stocked once COVID-19 cases start to drop off.

"It looks like it's going to happen again, that everyone is going to start hoarding, and then we're going to be in trouble," McGuire said.

MORE: What's the biggest cause of rising inflation? It's complicated.

Southeastern Grocers, the parent owner of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, said they continue to work to provide customers with the goods they need.

"Our well-experienced supply chain team is updating our stocking plans throughout each day to ensure that popular products are on the shelf," said Meredith Hurley, director of public relations and community for Southeastern Grocers. "We continue to work closely with our vendor partners and distribution centers to navigate these challenges and operate with precision to deliver shopping experiences our customers can always count on at the right price."

Consumer Brands Association is urging shoppers to only buy what they need when visiting the grocery store.