Stress points: Here’s what you need to know about a food shortage

This post has been updated.

For consumers, the Great Shutdown has meant cranky cashiers and a reduced number of sample foods in your local supermarket.

But it’s not just about having to find another frappuccino to go with your Powerade — some of your favorite products are hard to find.

In the food industry, delayed distribution trucks are a major headache, and if they’re not making the rounds, they’re certainly not making it to your neighborhood store.

To get a better understanding of the impact of the shutdown on groceries and other supply chains, here’s a peek at what products you might be missing in your local stores (and how retailers are dealing with shortages):

Ready-to-eat meals

Typically stocked in all stores, these sit-down meals were one of the earliest products likely to go out of stock during a government shutdown. Basically, there’s no soup, soup, soup at this point. But, luckily, Costco and Whole Foods are answering that plea with walk-in refrigerators.

Canned soup and other canned goods

A significant reduction in available canned goods means more shelf space for less expensive alternatives. However, most local outlets still have their great finds, including Chef Boyardee pasta, Marie Callender’s, Oscar Mayer, Hormel, Campbell’s, General Mills, J.M. Smucker and Nutri-Grain.

But just like everything else with a government shutdown, expect to wait in line to find the items you want.

Delicious deli cuts

As any restaurant owner knows, only slicing the steak can take you all the way to the table. But that might not be a problem anymore.

In the government, where weather shutdowns can force cooks to use canned instead of fresh, and where people have to find nutritionally absent spinach and chicken nuggets, the Deli Cook is screwed. There’s still a lot of beef and pork around, but nothing else.

Poultry and eggs

Eggs and poultry are staples of any home-cooked meal, but with only 25,000 furloughed federal employees on the job, supplies are slow. More importantly, there’s just not enough egg storage space to go around. So unless you’re a deep-fried Burrito or a worm-chomping crow, you’re toast.

I’m guessing you also can’t eat Frito Lay products.

Trash bags

If canned soup and chicken nuggets are your weekly staples, then trash bags are your new only vendor. Costco just expanded its small station to a larger one, and has a shiitake bag for $11.99. Also available: all of the following: Swiffer dipper cleaner, Tide laundry detergent, Colefax & Clothier Baby soap, Cheerios, Tide Pods, M&Ms, Spam, OJ and peaches.

Cash registers

Unless you’re going on a road trip (hint: leave the electronic thing), you should still be able to use your credit card to pay at the checkout.

But in order to do that, you might have to wait in a line even longer than what you’re used to.

Leave a Comment