The supply chain and inflation problems felt in 2022 could still intensify in 2023, particularly in the food sector.
Extreme weather and drought, labor shortages, and other factors threaten to make the following 13 food items difficult to find this year. (Related: Last May, the Bank of England warned that “apocalyptic” food shortages are soon to come.):
1) Beef: According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, the average American will consume 5.6 percent less beef in 2023 compared to 2022 – this being the steepest decline in 40 years. Drought conditions and high costs are blamed for this expected shortage.
2) Lettuce: Unseasonably warm weather, according to the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, could make leafy greens in shorter supply this year, as could the spread of crop diseases like Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV).
3) Beer: Difficulties growing and obtaining the ingredients needed to make people’s favorite brews could leave store shelves lacking this year. Aluminum production, used for beer cans, is also down by as much as 20 percent due to lingering post-covid supply chain and production issues.
4) Champagne: Similarly, party beverages like champagne could also be in short supply as a consequence of dwindling demand due to covid that led to production decreases, followed by increased demand that outpaced supply after covid ended.
5) Oranges: Numerous hurricanes and other tropical storms decimated Florida’s orange crop, while erratic weather in California and Brazil has further negatively impacted the supply of oranges.
6) Cooking oil: The biggest cooking oil-producing countries are at war right now (Russia versus Ukraine), which is expected to keep prices high and supplies low.
7) Butter: In 2022, butter saw one of the steepest price upticks due to inflation, a phenomenon that is expected to persist. There are also labor shortages in the dairy sector that have led to milk production decreases.
8) Corn: Planted acreage of this widely used commodity continues to decrease due to weather and other issues. Higher prices and less availability are expected.
Can’t find eggs? This could remain a problem throughout the year
9) Eggs: They say “avian flu” is the cause, but the ongoing egg shortage is also a factor of feed unavailability, i.e., because of rail problems preventing feed from getting to hen farms.
10) Tomatoes: These are so easy to grow that everyone should be doing it in their yard or on their deck, but even so, the USDA is warning that tomatoes, which are mostly grown in California for the consumer market, will be in increasingly short supply due to drought – though heavy rains have been battering the Golden State in recent weeks, so that should help.
11) Bread: Ukraine is often called the world’s bread basket, and because it remains embattled with Russia bread and other products made from wheat will be in much shorter supply worldwide for the foreseeable future.
12) Olive oil A tree-blighting bacteria called Xylella fastidiosa made its way to Italy in 2021 where it eventually devastated at least one-third of the country’s 60 million olive trees. Worldwide, Xylella fastidiosa is being blamed for a 50-70 percent reduction in olive oil production since it first took hold – and it is expected to persist throughout 2023.
13) Infant formula: This one remains a problem due to a temporary production halt that took place at Abbott, the nation’s largest infant formula manufacturer. Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare all come from the Abbott line, and these remain in limited supply due to persistent factory closures.
The Brandon regime tried to intervene with Operation Fly Formula, but the market remains un-stabilized and it will likely take some time for infant formula to make it back on shelves in adequate supply.
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Sources for this article include: