Food shortages that don't make sense

In the early days of the pandemic, there were a lot of empty grocery store shelves. Stock levels are mostly returning to normal now, but there are still some unexplained gaps.

It’s been about a month since I’ve been able to find bran flakes in the cereal aisle. Name brand or store brand, there are none to be found. And yet there is plenty of raisin bran on the shelves. (I told my wife I’d buy a box of raisin bran and then pick out the raisins for her, but she declined.)

Any other food shortages you’ve seen that don’t make a whole lot of sense?

Distilled water. I need it for my CPAP machine, but they were completely out yet again. For some reason distilled water is often difficult to find, anyway. I’ve spent time calling grocery stores and drug stores trying to find somebody in the region who has any in stock, and wondered if I should give up on this nonsense and buy a still, but then it will turn up again. Now that the pandemic is on, it’s become extra difficult to find. Is it really that difficult to source? Maybe there’s a cottage industry opportunity here…

Have you tried Aldi? When TP was hard to find, they often had it because they put limits on how many you could buy and shoppers seemed to respect the limits.

The bottled water aisle is back in business, I found it odd that those shelves were cleared out like it was a power outage. Baking supplies are again in stock

But it seems everyone is still on a Taquito binge, the frozen brands of any and all taquito boxes are few and far between over here.

chela as far as frozen foods go, I’ve noticed a lot of empty spaces in the Lean Cuisine /Smart Ones section. Many of the fish, chicken or turkey ones that my wife likes are scarce. But pasta-based ones (mac & cheese, lasagna, ravioli) seem plentiful.

Yeast was hard to find a while ago - not sure if that
has changed. At first I did not understand this, but when I realized everyone was home and baking is a productive time-burner - makes sense.

A non-food item in short supply: bicycles.

Stores seem to have largely gotten a handle on generalized supply issues, like when there were widespread TP shortages and, for a short while, shortages of almost any kind of bread. I think what we’re seeing now is just the result of random transportation issues, which could unexpectedly hit just about anything. Like right now my favorite brand of salsa has been unavailable for months, for no discernible reason, but probably exacerbated by the fact that it comes from Texas which is a) a long way from here, b) on the other side of an international border, and c) has been hit hard by COVID.

On my last grocery trip, the store was completely out of parchment paper, too, no doubt because of a big increase in home baking. But for the most part I think these random shortages are mostly transportation issues all along the supply chain…

Baking soda. I looked in two grocery stores this weekend.

Yes - and white vinegar too. People must be doing a lot more cleaning while stuck inside.

Yeast is still normally available in the packet sized servings, but the bulk ones are still harder to get. I used to get the 32 oz Red Star brand yeast at Costo for $4.99-7.99, but they haven’t had it for months (and is no longer listed for order on their website). I was able to get a 16oz of the SAF brand for $9.99 on Amazon, which is at least double what it used to go for, but much better than buying the tiny packets.
So some supply or gouging costs going on, but in general, more availability. And yes, my wife bakes a lot, we both like bread, but like to know what’s going into it. Thankfully she was able to get 25lbs of bread flour at Costco for $7 again.

Sounds like home project volcanoes are making a comeback!

I just did a quick check on Amazon and they have them there.

Plenty of baking soda and white vinegar on Amazon too.

Pasta and pasta sauce. The toilet paper has since returned in full, but the pasta and sauce aisle is still 90% empty.

Sounds like another localized thing. Plenty of pasta and sauce around here, including my standard go-to brand of imported Italian spaghettini. And my favorite little boutique Italian grocery is churning out large quantities of their exquisite store-made semplice pasta sauce. If it was only realistically feasible, I’d happily trade you all the pasta you want for just one jar of “Desert Pepper” brand roasted tomato chipotle corn salsa. :grinning:

Not grocery store related but I ordered some food last week including a salad that was supposed to have oil & vinegar dressing. They instead sent some creamy dressing (Caesar maybe) and, since they messed up something else much larger, I figured I’d mention it in my phone call. The person said I couldn’t have oil & vinegar because of COVID which struck me as kind of bizarre.

Diet tonic water has been in short supply. I usually buy two-liter bottles of the stuff to enjoy with some of the nice stuff that comes in a blue bottle bearing the previous name of a large Indian city.

Oh, well, I quit drinking a week ago, so don’t want it right now anyway.

My favorite beverage, Minute Maid Light Lemonade, has been out of stock for the past month (Safeway, Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.) I’m not sure what’s going on, but it seems strange that just this one drink, which is a Coca-Cola product, is not available.

Boxed pudding and gelatine mixes. Lime and butterscotch was all that was left, and only a few boxes. Even at Thanksgiving, it is never this scarce. I do not know the connection, if any, to the pandemic.

The OP says food but have any of you tried to buy a dishwasher lately? It was almost impossible to find a good, black dishwasher in stock anywhere near me. Nobody would commit to deliver an order sooner than three months. I ended up finding a discontinued model and just took it.

There were some high-end ($1.5k+) washers available from brands that have a very poor repair record. No thanks.