Shoppers Are Experiencing Shortages in Grocery Stores

A display case is nearly empty at a Giant Food grocery store in Washington on Jan. 9. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

The rapid-spreading omicron virus and severe weather have led to acute shortages of food in grocery stores. The shortages are nationwide impacting produce and meat and other food items.

U.S. groceries typically have 5% to 10% of their items out of stock at any given time; right now, that unavailability rate is hovering around 15%, according to Consumer Brands Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman.

The average U.S. household spent $144 per week at the grocery last year, according to FMI, a trade organization for groceries and food producers. That was down from the peak of $161 in 2020, but still far above the $113.50 that households spent in 2019.

There is also a shortage in truck drivers not to mention the delay in shipping. The American Trucking Associations said in October that the U.S. was short an estimated 80,000 drivers, a historic high.

– Ella Breedlove