Some executives are issuing warnings that there might be food shortages nationwide due to supply chain bottlenecks, coming as a number of school districts have reported they haven’t received shipments of key items like milk or chicken nuggets.
In the past several weeks, school officials in Denver to Chicago to parts of Alabama have reported that schools are running out of lunches or breakfasts, calling on parents to pack lunches for their children. Some lunch staff have been forced to buy their own cooking and cleaning supplies.
“I never imagined that we’d be here in October 2021 talking about supply-chain problems, but it’s a reality,” Vivek Sankaran, chief executive officer of Albertsons, told Bloomberg News this week. “Any given day, you’re going to have something missing in our stores, and it’s across categories.”
And Saffron Road, a producer of frozen and shelf-stable meals, is holding more inventory and will keep for months of supply on hand instead of one or two months.
“People are hoarding,” Saffron Road CEO and founder Adnan Durrani told Bloomberg. “What I think you’ll see over the next six months, all prices will go higher.”
Land O’Lakes, one of the biggest farm cooperatives in the United States, said its milk production is normal. However, the huge backlog of ships that are attempting to dock at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have led to supply chain issues nationwide, a spokesperson said.
“The challenges in the supply chain continue to be issues such as driver shortages, labor and congestion at the ports,” Land O’Lakes chief supply officer Yone Dewberry told Bloomberg.
The comments come amid viral videos posted online in recent days showing empty shelves in areas around the country.
Last week, the White House announced it would attempt to alleviate some of the strain on the two ports by having them work 24-hour shifts, seven days per week. However, data provided by Marine Exchange shows there are still more than 160 ships waiting to enter the port as of Wednesday.
Walmart, Target, UPS, and FedEx, among others would also expand their overnight operations at the ports to deal with delivery backlogs, the White House also said.
Meanwhile, according to the latest update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, dated Oct. 15, “There are currently no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock.”