It’s a cliche to say the hindsight is 20/20, but as shortages and supply chain issues continue, it definitely seems valid for buyers. If only we could go back and tell our pre-pandemic selves to buy extra hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
To be sure, some shortages and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic — and, in some cases, panic buying — have eased. For example, the demand for waitlist-only bikes is largely resolved.
However, other shortages remain problematic and are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
Why supply chain issues are here to stay
Periodic shortages of popular products aren’t unprecedented, but supply chain issues can be a long-term issue.
Multiple supply chain issues – such as already fragile global supply chains, production capacity, climate change, labor and trucker shortages, and backups at major ports and warehouses – converged to create the perfect storm.
We can’t always predict when certain products will be back in stock (for example, parents are still having trouble finding formula), but you can shop now and avoid higher prices and empty shelves later.
Here are 15 products that are expected to be affected by supply chain shortages and strong consumer demand in the coming months.
- Cereals, bread, flour
- Dairy products
- Frozen food
- Christmas trees
- Tomato products
- Pop corn
- Olive oil
- Canned products
- Bottled water
- Alcohol and beer
15 things you should stock up now to avoid shortages
But first, don’t give in to the temptation to panic buy. Artificial demand can disrupt the supply chain – think of the great toilet paper shortage of 2020.
However, picking up a few extra items or buying early is a smart way to stock up, without emptying store shelves for other shoppers.
1. Cereals, bread and flour
If it is made from grains, especially wheat, it will only cost more. Grain prices are skyrocketing due to the war in Ukraine, which is weighing on the world’s wheat supply. So plan a few extra boxes of cereal or a big bag of flour for the winter.
If you know you’re going to need new tires or snow tires, you should buy them soon. There is a looming tire shortage due to low rubber production hit by both the pandemic and climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Manufacturers are also warning that moving tires through supply lines fast enough to meet demand will be difficult this year due to trucking capacity.
Champagne shortages began with a drought affecting the harvest in early 2022, and a glass shortage compounded the problems. Experts expect the champagne won’t run dry, but it will be expensive and scarce. Save the party and stock up now before New Year’s Eve.
4. Dairy products
Dairy products have seen sharp price increases and periodic shortages over the past two years. Prices for basic dairy products are not expected to drop for a few months.
If you see a sale on milk, butter, and even some types of cheese, stock up. You can freeze most dairy products for a month or more.
5. Frozen foods
Ready meals, especially freeze-dried vegetables, are in greater demand than ever due to their longer shelf life. Consumer appetite has also increased for foods that are unaffected by local cultures or seasonal weather patterns.
If you have a chest freezer, store a few extra bags of frozen foods that your family uses often.
6. Christmas trees
If you’ve been through the pain of searching for a new Christmas tree during the pandemic, this probably isn’t your year either.
Due to the drought, live Christmas trees will remain rare. You may want to purchase an artificial tree at a discount before the season is in full swing.
7. Tomato products
Due to extreme drought, California is struggling to keep the tomato crop from sinking this year. That means higher prices for all tomatoes, including staples like salsa, marinara sauce, and even ketchup (gasp!).
Add a few extra bottles of tomatoes to your cart in the coming weeks for savings later.
Talk scary! Hershey sounded the alarm this summer that Halloween candy supplies could be stressed by cocoa shortages and the war in Ukraine.
October is the busiest time of year for chocolate consumption, generating 10% or more of Hershey’s annual profits. To avoid higher demand this Halloween, grab supplies for trick-or-treaters — and hide them or freeze them — now.
When drought hits, farmers have to decide which crops to water and which to drop. Corn is not super profitable, but it is a priority for animal fodder. The popcorn, however, might be unwelcome. Combined with increased movie theater attendance, popcorn supplies could be a problem, so save some to snack on later.
10. Olive oil
Heat waves in Spain are threatening the olive harvest this year. This means – you guessed it – olive oil supplies are at risk. Get a head start by buying another bottle of olive oil the next time you shop.
Extra virgin olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place and stored for up to 20 months.
You’re lucky if you have a healthy peach tree in your garden or have access to a local farmer’s supply. Buy these stone fruits any way you can and blanch, freeze or store them. This year’s peach crop was the victim of a late spring frost in the South and is leaving some produce aisles bare this season.
Aluminum shortages mean everything in a can is getting more expensive, from beans to beer and soda. It’s a good idea to stock up on canned goods before the price goes up because you can store them for years. And it’s still a great time to replenish that emergency food supply.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and climate change mean that chickpea crop yields have fallen by 20% this year, which is bad news for vegans and hummus lovers everywhere.
Grab canned or dried chickpeas now to avoid higher prices later, but be aware that hummus only keeps for a short time in the fridge.
14. Bottled Water
Due to the global supply chain, shortages in the UK can mean shortages everywhere. Panic buying bottled water is straining an already depleted supply chain and emptying shelves.
If you regularly use bottled or distilled water, get an extra jug to replenish your supply before it runs out in the United States.
15. Alcohol and Beer
Don’t panic, but just about anything in a glass bottle or aluminum can is vulnerable to price increases and shortages right now. This includes liquor and beer, and even things you haven’t thought of, like maple syrup.
Restocking the bar before the holidays could help your household avoid the bottleneck.
Buy now, save later to overcome supply chain challenges
Shortages aren’t always predictable, but anticipating supply chain disruptions can help shoppers stay ahead of empty shelves. And if you have the space and funds to store now, those savings can really add up later.
Kaz Weida is an editor for The Penny Hoarder.