FOOD: If you don’t buy it now, you will pay later.

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If you don’t buy now, you will pay later!

Something remarkable has been happening and due to lack of concerted media attention, a bigger panic has not rung out. Simply put, there is a crisis in food security and it is only going to get worse. I first suspected as much when Taco Bell announced they were running out of Taco ingredients.

They’ve gone from “Live Mas” to “Live Menos!” Taco Bell appears to be the latest fast-food joint to get hit by nationwide supply shortages. The company, headquartered in California, warned customers that it may be out of certain dishes “Due to national ingredient shortages and delivery delays,” according to a banner message on its website. It’s unclear which specific ingredients have run dry or how widespread the issue is — but hangry customers have been taking notice.

I also saw how KFC has stopped promoting some of their food items because of dwindling chicken supply. According to Menus with price.

According to a recent interview with Kevin Hochman, the president of KFC, while the company currently has enough chicken supply to meet customer demand, it isn’t able to “aggressively promote” its chicken tenders on TV.

And Burger King has been affected as well, according to Food and Wine.

“We have pickles for Whoppers but these are very special bigger, crunchier, zesty pickles,” said Jim MacDonald, the vice president of operations for Burger King Grand Rapids, told WOOD TV8. “The problem was we couldn’t get the pickles because they couldn’t get the jars during the pandemic. They couldn’t make the jars to put the pickles in to get them to us so they couldn’t make enough to get them where we needed them.”

According to Supply Chain Management Review, Burger King’s pickle problem is what happens when there are Tier 2 supply shortages, which affect manufacturers that produce stuff for Tier 1 suppliers, who provide their products to supermarkets and other retailers.

The media reported on these types of stories then, seem to lose interest as more food shortages gradually became more evident. For example, according to “Eat This, Not ThatWalmart is facing shortages in Beef, Pork, Chicken, Juice and Snacks.

Maybe the media is trying to suppress a panic? I remember quite well how the public reacted when there was a shortage of toilet paper and sanitizer in 2020. The panic buying made the situation much worse than it needed to be. Some experts say that a repeat of that is looming. If so, how crazy could things be the second time around? What if instead of toilet paper and sanitizer, you had trouble finding and buying not only food but… everything? Think about that as you read this quote from the Atlantic.

The coronavirus pandemic has snarled global supply chains in several ways. Pandemic checks sent hundreds of billions of dollars to cabin-fevered Americans during a fallow period in the service sector. A lot of that cash has flowed to hard goods, especially home goods such as furniture and home-improvement materials. Many of these materials have to be imported from or travel through East Asia. But that region is dealing with the Delta variant, which has been considerably more deadly than previous iterations of the virus. Delta has caused several shutdowns at semiconductor factories across Asia just as demand for cars and electronics has started to pick up. As a result, these stops along the supply chain are slowing down at the very moment when Americans are demanding that they work in overdrive.

The most dramatic expression of this snarl is the purgatory of loaded cargo containers stacked on ships bobbing off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Just as a normal traffic jam consists of too many drivers trying to use too few lanes, the traffic jam at California ports has been exacerbated by extravagant consumer demand slamming into a shortage of trucks, truckers, and port workers. Because ships can’t be unloaded, not enough empty containers are in transit to carry all of the stuff that consumers are trying to buy. So the world is getting a lesson in Econ 101: High demand plus limited supply equals prices spiraling to the moon. Before the pandemic, reserving a container that holds roughly 35,000 books cost $2,500. Now it costs $25,000.

But even if all of those goods could be unloaded to a dock, how will they get to the stores? In some parts of the world, 25% of driving jobs are unfilled. Here in the United States, Truckers are getting bigger paychecks, but it’s not solving the shortage of drivers. To quote Business Insider

In April, the trucking firm CR England announced its largest driver-pay raise in its history and its third pay hike in three years. It said its pay had increased by more than 50% since 2018.

Driver scarcity and staggering e-commerce sales have made trucking expensive. Insider reported in September that data indicated retailers were spending about 30% more than they were in 2019 to transport their goods via truck.

“Our customers have been very understanding that it’s necessary to raise rates,” Norlin told CNN. “I could literally hire 500 to 1,000 more drivers — we have the business offerings from customers to keep them busy.”

Maybe they will fix it soon, maybe not. Better safe than sorry. Get ahead of it, while you still can. The best preparation is to garden and cut out the middleman altogether. However, if you cannot garden to save your life (literally) here are items to stock up on. Leveraged prudently, these stockpiled groceries can get you through 3-6 months’ worth of empty grocery store shelves. According to Ready Nutrition.

  • Canned beans (don’t forget to keep a manual WORKING can opener on hand at all times! I have two backups just in case!)
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned meats such as spam, tuna, sardines, or chicken
  • Bulk dried beans
  • Bulk rice
  • Canned soups
  • Cooking oil (healthy oils are advised, such as coconut oil or olive oil or avocado oil)
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, baking essentials like yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.)
  • Dried vegetables (great snacks and additions to soups)
  • Seeds and nuts (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds)
  • Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter)
  • Frozen vegetables

I would add to that a first aid kit and other medical related supplies, pet food, hygienic products, cleaning products, a generator in case the power grid goes down, solar powered chargers and… Hmm… I don’t know what else but, I am researching it. I suggest you do as well. And if you can, do your Christmas and holiday shopping early.

Other articles you might want to read:

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