Food Shortages that Are or May be Happening this Year


Image provided by: Via RNZ

Keally Peck, Writer

The year 2023 has only been around for almost three weeks, but lots of news has already happened. Especially when it comes to the shortages in the common grocery store items.

A carton of eggs that used to be $1.98 could now be almost $5.00 today. But why is that? Back in 2022, a serious bird flu broke out among the Midwest of the United States. Because of this bird flu spreading quickly, killing lots of viable chickens, hens and other birds, all of the infected birds were killed to stop the infection from spreading. This includes more than 1.5 million hens passing away, all of them fully or partially infected with the bird flu. Because of so many egg laying birds passing, less eggs entered the shelves of grocery and retail stores. This wasn’t noticed much until November and December, when shopping increased for the seasonal holidays and as eggs were taken off the shelves among many other items, cartons of eggs seemed to be the only item that never restocked. This cost a lot of profit, as stores weren’t making enough money for egg prices, and the farmers who ship the eggs were getting paid less and less because of less eggs being produced. Because of this, when eggs entered the shelves again, the prices were raised tremendously. In the U.S. a Grade A large carton of eggs (12 eggs counted) used to be $1.92. Now the average price is $4.25, with some more populated places reaching prices as high as $7.00, which is actually the current price of this type of egg carton in New York City. The prices don’t look like they’ll fall just yet, but until the quantity of eggs increases once again, these prices will have to stick.

“There is [shortage of eggs] because of bird flu. The egg production has fallen so much in the entire Philippines,” The Batangas Egg Producers Association (BEPA) President Dr. Jesus Medina said in an interview with The Manila Times

“I already appealed to our members not to increase the farmgate prices of eggs. If they are earning already, that’s enough so as not to affect the consumers. We know that eggs are part of the breakfast of every household,” Medina continued.

This seems to be the only confirmed outbreak, but lots of theories have been made of what other shortages could come this year.

According to Eat This Not That! Other items like beef have the possibility of being shortened this year. In 2022, farmers and ranchers faced many difficulties due to record-breaking weather events. Texas, the United States largest beef producer, has suffered extreme drought for the majority of the summer months. Many ranchers were forced to sell off amounts of their cattle earlier than expected, which caused more escalated slaughter levels in the last six months of that year. A time of higher prices and dwindling beef availability is likely to begin before ranchers repopulate their cattle and correct the damage that was done.

At the beginning of the pandemic, people panic-buying canned foods and drinking more canned beverages resulted in an unexpected spike in demand for aluminum, which effects are still happening today. Certain kinds of products, from canned pet food to beer, have been reportedly harder to find and seem to be getting more expensive. Beer seems to have been facing its own shortages for the past year due to shortages in carbon dioxide, which is used to give brew to its bubbles. Small craft breweries are faced with the problem, some beers may already have an inflated tab on the shelves of bars or grocery stores.

With the war between Russia and Ukraine persisting, shortages of bread and many other wheat products, including flour, cereals and baked goods, won’t be going anywhere either. Ukraine and Russia together typically produce around 30% of wheat exports around the world, with the Russian invasion has now hindered production severely and has depleted supplies which were already tight. Prices of bread have already shot up 15.7% in the past year, according to the Consumer Price Index, with cereal and bakery products also having prices raised by 16.4% and flour along with other prepared flour mixes have seen an insane 24.9% price jump.

This year has already started with one of the most common foods being forced to be low in stock and expensive to buy. As time goes, much like how people had fixed themselves up when toilet paper was off the shelves for months in 2020, the egg shortage should hopefully be fixed as well, and customers and store owners can only hope that some of the items that are on the edge of a shortage can stay in stock, and avoid another shortage catastrophe, like the one in 2020.