Why are grocery store shelves looking pretty bare right now?
It’s not your imagination. Grocery stores are struggling to keep their stores stocked.
According to the Washington Post, there are several reasons for your favorite items being hard to find. The big one of course is omicron. The huge surge has hit stores hard. They are dealing with everything from workers out sick to closures to deep clean.
The head of the industry organization, Consumer Brands Association, told The Post there were more employee absences in the last two weeks than in all of 2020.
It’s not just shelf stockers calling in sick but also truck drivers. And those drivers are dealing with more than just omicron infections. Nasty winter storms have made it hard for healthy drivers to get where they need to go.
That massive traffic jam in Virginia where drivers were trapped for more than 20 hours is just one recent memorable example.
People’s habits are also changing. Experts say more people are now eating at home. They blame a combination of fears over the omicron surge and rising inflation for the change.
According to one national retail sales tracker, grocery sales were up more than eight percent in December. Analysts say this change is pretty common when prices go up because going out to a restaurant becomes more of a splurge when you are watching your budget.