DALLAS — Across the country, the grocery industry is going through a difficult time as COVID and employee challenges continue to hamper their efforts.
“It’s gotten significantly more challenging in the last several weeks,” Gary Huddleston the grocery industry consultant for the Texas Retailers Association said.
“In all the years I’ve had experience in the grocery business, I’ve never seen all three big issues come together at once," he added. "That would be employee challenges, and number two supply chain challenges, and number three inflation.”
Compounding matters, Huddleston said vendors - like Frito Lay, Coca-Cola and Pepsi - have had the same issues, too.
“They all have transportation issues with a higher fuel cost, and they also have employee issues because of COVID," Huddleston said.
Video shot across America shows a number of stores where shelves are empty.
Gary Hackney hasn’t that experience at his Oak Lawn Kroger.
“I haven’t seen many empty shelves in this store,” Hackney said. “I generally can get what I need, maybe not what I want, and sometimes there are not as many choices as their used to be, but I’m not really suffering from not being able to get something at the grocery store.”
Huddleston said stores in Dallas-Fort Worth may have a slight advantage because many distribution warehouses and manufacturing plants are right here in DFW. Many businesses also shop local.
“Buying Texas products - that’s still a value in Texas, because there is shorter time to get the products to the shelves," he explained. "Plus, less cost on transportation because the product is either made or grown in the state of Texas."
On the employee front, Huddleston said be prepared to see more self-checkouts, which will free up more employees to stock shelves and fill online orders.
The Food Industry Association put together a fact sheet on the current supply chain situation. (click here for the list.)
They also created a resource that showcases supply chain disruptions using the PB+J sandwich as an example.
Hackney said customer’s patience will help push us through the pandemic.
“I think we need to just buckle down and accept this and make-do with what we can get,” Hackney said. “And be happy that we can get it.”