Shopping during a shortage in Midland

The holidays may be over, but the shortage of Midland-area stores continues, causing residents to rethink how they shop. While some continue to shop in person, others use shopping apps to avoid large crowds indoors. Meanwhile, stores are finding creative ways to keep their shelves full while they wait for supply chain issues to subside.

Residents are trying to get creative in view of the lack of products in stores. Joy Gillette on Facebook has shared grocery shoppers with shopping for what’s available, not necessarily what they want to buy.


Anne Wallen, another local resident, added that items not available in stock appeared to be “too random.”

Taylor Nicholl, a local, notes that many products are low in stock or remain sold out for a long time.

Nicole said, “(There isn’t) as much variety as it used to be, especially with paper goods and household cleaning items like laundry products, soft drinks and even frozen items.

Judy Townsend, from Midland, said it’s sometimes hard to get everything on your shopping list when you receive an order. She added that when you go shopping in person, most of the time what you need or want is simply out of stock.

However, Michael Moth, a Midland resident, said his family had enough options – maybe not their favorite brands, but it was still a problem for the family.

“We even found some new favourites,” he added.

Local resident Diane Shepherd said she managed to get her usual groceries often, citing only twice when she couldn’t get everything that was on her list.

“(Firstly) all the egg noodles are gone,” she said. “Then,[on]the day before Thanksgiving, Kroger ran out of heavy cream. That is. Maybe, I’m not shopping for the kinds of things that are in short supply?”

Cathy Shoemaker, a local, said Kroger and Target were great at providing her with some of her missing items.

In terms of pet items, Midlander Megan Kalish said wet cat food and litter were always out of stock.

“Cat food, who would have thought?” said Ruth Flowers, from Freeland. “Maybe it’s not important to everyone, but my cat is part of the broth in his food.”

“The prices of everything are also a problem: gas, medicine and more,” she added.

New local resident, Trina Thompson, an Instacart shopper said stores are struggling to keep anything and everything in stock.

She added that Instacart’s customers are usually people who don’t want to deal with grocery store crowds.

“Customers don’t understand (the shortfall) and are upset that they didn’t get their favorite bag of chips or candy and cut my tips off dramatically,” she commented on Facebook. “This is bad.”

Local stores combat shortages by finding alternative brands and supplies

Nor is Midland Grocery immune to supply chain problems. said Scott McNelis, owner of LaLonde Market, located at 4007 N. Jefferson Ave. , that while the meat and produce portion of the business was largely unaffected, other food products were challenging.

Products like cream cheese, oyster crackers and ranch sauce have been hard to stock lately. He said the shortages are caused by the supplier having to wait their turn when purchasing limited supplies of food.

However, that doesn’t mean that MacNellis is completely without options. If LaLonde runs out of Nabisco Saltine crackers, for example, they can order a different brand of them until they’re available again.

“Customers have realized that when[they]go to the store,[they]may not get exactly the brand they want, but I will get something similar,” McNelis said.

Representatives of Walmart, Kroger, and Meijer stores in Midland were asked if they felt they were running low; If so, in what areas; What do they attribute to the deficiency? when they expected a return to “normal” stock; and whether customers’ shopping habits have changed.

“The Meijer trucks seen on the highway are delivering merchandise to our stores every day, and our store team members work hard to help us stock and restock our shelves for our customers,” said Kristina Fischer, Kroger Communications Manager.

Walmart admitted by email, saying they will be back in the Daily News by Friday’s deadline. they did not.

Krueger did not respond to the request.

Food industry expert: ‘It will take some time (to increase supplies)’

Midland’s grocery shortage problems are shared with other parts of the country. According to FMI, the Food Industry Association, 46% of shoppers noted that some products were not available in their grocery stores. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, FMI works with retailers and producers to create a safer, healthier and more efficient food supply chain.

It’s something we’re seeing across the country,” said Doug Baker, FMI’s vice president of industrial relations.

Other factors influenced the grocery shortage. Baker explained that the recent holiday season, combined with the emerging Omicron variant of COVID-19, has affected the supply chain. Because we live in a global economy, a large amount of what we consume comes from outside the country. The global supply chain, from producers to packaging companies and shipping methods, is affected as countries react to variables and COVID cases increase.

“We don’t produce everything here…so whether it’s a cover or a label or an ingredient or an entire product we are affected by what happens in other countries,” Becker said.

Meanwhile, increases in consumer shopping correlate with a rise in the virus in the community as people stock up on supplies; Seasonal changes that prevent restaurants from offering outdoor seating, resulting in more eating at home; and important weather events such as snowstorms.

Baker said consumer demand has increased since the start of the pandemic, as more people work from home and eat less, causing the need to buy more groceries. FMI reported that families spent an average of $113.50 per week on groceries in 2019. That average rose to $161 at the height of the pandemic in 2020, has fallen to $144 and has now stabilized.

As a result, Baker saw how consumers became “multi-shoppers,” obtaining products by shopping online in addition to visiting traditional stores. FMI reports that the average consumer stores grocery stores in four types of stores in a given month. There has also been a trend with people not taking big trips or buying big things, preferring to eat at home and making smaller purchases, but more frequently.

Baker encourages shoppers facing shortages to contact other stores in the area, prepare to replace a brand or ingredient with another similar product, and check back often to see if the product in question has returned to shelves. Resetting the supply chain is expected to take several months, and the situation is estimated to improve in the middle or late summer of this year.

“It will take some time. We won’t see any significant improvement in the industry until the middle of the year,” Becker said.

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