CLEVELAND (WJW) – Paying more at the pump for gasoline or for your favorite item at the grocery store? Blame it in part on the growing global supply chain problem creating issues across various industries.
“The food supply is really one that’s struggling out there,” said Kristin Mullins, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. “I know everyone’s struggling but we’re really seeing it. It’s really effecting what’s on our shelves.”
Mullins represents wholesalers, manufacturers and about 1,000 grocery retail store locations. She said the problem has been building since the start of the pandemic.
Mullins said the issue is not surrounding any one item, but a shortage of labor at manufacturing facilities combined with a shortage of some raw materials from overseas.
“The majority of the problem is we just don’t have the people to work like we used to,” said Mullins. “I’ve heard of manufacturers who are working as low as 40% capacity simply because they don’t have employees.”
President Biden addressed the supply chain issue Wednesday, announcing the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day every day of the week.
Mullins said the problem trickles down from the manufacturing level to distribution, then retailers impacting how much customers must pay at the store.
“When prices start to go up, know that we are at our last ends as retailers out there, so we have to pass that along,” she said.
Looking ahead to the holiday season, even the toy industry recently warned about a toy shortage due to supply chain issues, calling it an “end to end failure” of transporting goods.
Disruptions in the supply chain brought on by the pandemic could become worse before getting better. In the meantime, Mullins said to prepare to see fewer choices on grocery store shelves.
“They’ll be less choices from manufacturers that will trickle down. I can’t really put a time limit on it. I don’t know when we’re going to come out of this,” she said. “It’s going to be when the world gets back to normal.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is no shortage of food.