Author Topic: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)  (Read 328219 times)

Offline hanzel

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #60 on: October 08, 2010, 08:50:56 AM »
thanks !

Offline rustyknife

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #61 on: October 08, 2010, 08:58:29 AM »
Good post. Just another in your face reminder why we prepare and why new to this life style can get good advise and council here.

Offline PAGUY

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2010, 07:08:18 PM »
Womule this is a good post that just puts more backing to the prepping lifestyle.

Offline mesta26

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #63 on: October 08, 2010, 07:42:21 PM »
Went grocery shopping tonight and I wish I had taken pics.  A lot of empty shelf space, signs saying "sorry we are out".  We haven't had any issues in my area that would have caused this.  Made me wonder........

Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #64 on: October 08, 2010, 08:47:19 PM »
Went grocery shopping tonight and I wish I had taken pics.  A lot of empty shelf space, signs saying "sorry we are out".  We haven't had any issues in my area that would have caused this.  Made me wonder........
There are things that can cause shortages that aren't anything to be concerned about (not saying anything about your situation, just in general).
I manage a food warehouse, and from time to time things come up that cause us to run out of items. Here is the most recent example. We distribute a line of crackers. They happen to be on sale in one of the large chains in the area. At the same time there was a change in the items that the stores sell. Some stores went from 5 facings to 25. Yes we knew the sale was coming up, and yes we knew we needed more for the resets, but the two combined pretty much wiped my warehouse out. I also supply 2 additional small warehouses with these items, so they were wiped out too. I also know another warehouse in our system had the same problem I did (we rely on each other for support when things like this happen). So - it is quite possible that someone will walk down the cracker aisle in these stores and see bare shelves (or at least low stock). Sure it's an inconvenience if you're looking for a particular item, and yes it costs us sales, but it definitely isn't an emergency.

Now, with all that said about this one incident I have more to say about the system in general. It is very easy for the system to fall apart. We have a list that comes out monthly showing how many days of inventory are in every warehouse in the company. The idea is to have as little as possible. The "best" warehouses have 5 - 7 days. Now that is normal movement. If there was a big run on food it would be gone much more quickly than that. We service the major stores daily - I think they could go for a few days without service, but it wouldn't be pretty even in good times. I also get daily deliveries from suppliers. Without those my best sellers can be gone in a day or two.
If trucks stop moving, or something causes a huge spike in demand, don't count on the local market being full.
The system is very fragile.

Offline mesta26

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #65 on: October 08, 2010, 09:15:52 PM »
I understand all of the supply issues, but this was everything from cheese to meat and everything in between.  Some things were just low, others were gone.

Offline womule

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #66 on: October 08, 2010, 09:23:52 PM »
@daved

That was a great post. If I wasn't on my BB I would give you a +1 in karma.

I think you should get in touch with Jack maybe he will put you on the show. I am very interested in hearing more. Could you learn as much as you can about the food chain system so you can share that with us?

What are all the weaknesses?  What kind of things could happen to disrupt the food supply?

Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #67 on: October 09, 2010, 06:38:18 AM »
@daved

That was a great post. If I wasn't on my BB I would give you a +1 in karma.

I think you should get in touch with Jack maybe he will put you on the show. I am very interested in hearing more. Could you learn as much as you can about the food chain system so you can share that with us?

What are all the weaknesses?  What kind of things could happen to disrupt the food supply?
Thanks for the compliment. I will put some thought into it and see what I can come up with as to weaknesses and possible disruptions beyond what I said in my prior post.
As for going on the show - that's not really for me. However, if Jack wants to pass along anything he sees as useful that I post here, that's great.

Offline womule

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #68 on: October 09, 2010, 07:21:07 AM »
Saw this on the DrudgeReport this morning thought it fit our discussion here.

I don't think that Americans will have problems getting food, 3rd world nations will have the problems. We will just see higher prices.

http://m.ft.com/cms/s/0/12b06cee-d300-11df-9ae9-00144feabdc0.html

Fears of a global food crisis swept the world's commodity markets as prices for staples such as corn, rice and wheat spiralled after the US government warned of "dramatically" lower supplies.An especially hot summer in the US, droughts in countries including Russia and Brazil and heavy rain in Canada and Europe have hit many grain and oilseed crops this year. This has raising concern of a severe squeeze in food supplies and a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #69 on: October 09, 2010, 08:07:07 AM »
I think I had seen some of those photo's before - it is common for spot shortages during bad weather times / loss of good water in the local area. Heck, that is one of the reasons to prep right?

A good pantry depth has let me go from buying on need to buying some items on sale.  What a concept - save money because I can wait for a common item to become a price leader at a local supermarket.   I have started to include as pantry items common things as light bulbs, TP, paper towels.

I know Russia has reduced export on some food items - so localized food shortages can be expected.  Crops can fail due to lack of water / or way too much water. Do I expect a nation wide food shortage in the US this year / next year?  Nope - but that does not mean that I should not have a nice supply of food encase there is a local issue.

Brad


Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #70 on: October 09, 2010, 10:43:48 AM »
@daved
I am very interested in hearing more. Could you learn as much as you can about the food chain system so you can share that with us?

What are all the weaknesses?  What kind of things could happen to disrupt the food supply?

Ok, after giving this some thought I have to say that the one thing that is most vulnerable is the transportation system. Even food bought at a farmers' market is transported at least twice (once from the farm to the market, and once from the market to your home). Everything you get from the grocery store is transported MANY times. 1st from wherever the raw materials come from (which most likely is several suppliers depending on what we are talking about and the number of ingredients) to the manufacturing plant (or bakery, cannery, whatever). Then probably to a large central warehouse, possibly to a freight terminal (or several), maybe to a intermediate warehouse, a smaller warehouse, the store, and finally to your home.

Here's an example: We sells some items made in South Carolina. They travel from there via common carrier through who knows how many terminals on their way to my warehouse in southern Wisconsin. I ship some of them to a larger warehouse in Milwaukee that doesn't even carry these items for the area it services. From there they go to a smaller warehouse in norther Wisconsin who also doesn't sell these items locally. They get loaded on a truck going to upper Michigan to a few small distributors. They put them on their route trucks and take them to the stores in their area. If I am out of these items I may have to track them down at one of our Chicago warehouses introducing another step or two into the process. To top this all off, I only have a truck going to the Milwaukee warehouse once a week, and he only has one going to northern Wisconsin once a week. They only ship to Michigan once every two weeks. So - if one step doesn't happen when it's supposed to it could lead to shortages approaching a month.  Here's where living in a bigger town works to your advantage. Some of those steps can be eliminated.
With each additional stop the items make, the bigger the threat that something could go wrong. Maybe there are riots in a big city many miles away from your nice safe small town. If the food going to your area has to come through that town it may not make it. It doesn't even have to be something as major as that. A work slow down in a warehouse somewhere in the chain can end up delaying deliveries which might mean missed connections and long delays in deliveries. I often get truck drivers complaining about how long it takes to get loaded at certain places. Depending on the number of hours they've been on the road (and if they are running legal) a few hours delay may mean they have to spend the night somewhere instead of driving through and making the delivery on time.

I guess one thing I should point out is that there actually is some redundancy built in to the system. That comes from the DSD (direct store delivery) system. These are the many vendors that service grocery stores on a daily basis. Only some of the products people buy come through the grocery stores' own warehouse system. The rest are delivered by other companies. Some dairy, soda, bread, snacks, etc are all delivered via DSD. (you can sometimes check the shelf tags of the items you buy and see if they say DSD on them) So basically if the Kroeger (or whoever your local grocer is) warehouse burns to the ground, the store will still have access to many items even without their own deliveries. The downside of this is that the DSD items are generally name brand more expensive items.

Bad weather is another cause of problems in the system (besides just causing transportation issues). If there are sales planned for items, it is relatively easy to order extra to cover the additional movement. When a winter storm hits, there isn't time to get more to cover the additional demand. (there is generally a 8 to 14 day lead time on everything I carry in my warehouse - although some specialty holiday items can be several months) When people hear there is bad weather coming they all run to the store. There is usually enough to cover this additional demand, but it may cause some localized shortages.

One thing I have learned over the years though is if you run out of one thing, you run out of EVERYTHING (not literally everything, but all kinds of stuff) Say someone wants to buy regular potato chips, but there are none on the shelf. They will either buy a different brand, or a different type or flavor. That increased demand on the other item causes it to run short and the process repeats itself.

Another thing I've run across is a bad crop causing shortages. Generally this isn't a huge problem. Maybe there are certain things that are only grown in small areas that could be wiped out completely, but everything I've dealt with has been able to be found from another grower in a different area and any shortage is a kind of hiccup in the system rather than a major problem. I can't speak to this too much since I am only responsible for ordering finished goods, not raw materials so I don't know the mechanics behind that.

The last thing I think I have for now is the fact that there is only a short supply anywhere along the chain. It all comes down to money. No one wants to pay for huge amounts of inventory. It ties up dollars that can be spent elsewhere. It ends up wasting shelf life sitting in warehouse racks, and just isn't the way things are done in normal operations. Stores get daily deliveries, warehouses get daily deliveries - that's the way it is, and it works quite well when nothing goes wrong. Ideally for me I want the last case of an item going out the door just as a fresh pallet is going into the pick location. It usually isn't that precise, but that is the ideal situation.
You can't count on the stores or warehouses that supply them to have stock if a SHTF situation. It is entirely up to you to take care of storing food at home.

I think that's all I've got for now. I'll add more if anything else comes to mind.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #71 on: October 09, 2010, 11:53:48 AM »
There have been a lot of shortages in our area lately. Even in the local Wally World. Some of them are going on for weeks on certain items. It's really odd but it has made me glad we don't depend on the stores for most items.

Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2010, 07:51:36 AM »
I've thought about this a bit more and came up with another thought on empty store shelves. That is the stores themselves aren't all the same. There is a sweet spot in terms of what store is most likely to still have stock when others don't. That is the store that is part of a large chain, relatively low volume, but not totally dead.
Let me explain. Some stores are extremely busy and do a lot of volume. They don't have any bigger back rooms than the slow stores. So everything available for purchase is pretty much on the shelves. Other stores do so little volume that their shelves aren't even filled for fear of the items going out of date before they sell (an extreme example of this is the local convenience store with one bottle of mustard on the shelf for the off chance someone actually buys it). In the middle are the stores that are never really busy, but aren't so slow that the shelves aren't filled. These middle stores are likely to still have merchandise that the other two might not. Granted in an extreme SHTF situation this will be short lived as ALL stores will get cleaned out. However, if you just want to get some extra milk and bread before the blizzard that is being forecast hits, they might be the way to go.

About grocery store back rooms: If you've never seen a back room of a grocery store, you might be surprised by what is (or really IS NOT) back there. Most are basically just long hallways along the back of the store with room along one side to put some pallets of things, and just enough room on the dock to unload the trailers of warehouse items that come in. If vendors are allowed to keep back stock it is a very small amount. Now there are some exceptions to this. Some of the large independent stores (not members of big chains) will buy in on things to get a good price and store this in their larger back rooms. This might be another type of store that would have full shelves a bit longer than others.

There are also different policies about having items in a store that seems to vary between the corporate stores and the independent stores. The independent store managers' job seems to be to make the biggest profit possible for their company. They do this through buying in to hold a sale price (and therefor having more stock on hand), placing displays throughout the store (cardboard displays in the aisles, clip racks hanging around, moveable metal racks, etc) which is still more additional stock on hand.
The corporate store managers' job seems more to be "make sure you follow the employee handbook" than it is to make a profit. Many of these stores have the mentality that their customers want to see a perfectly neat and organized store at the expense of addition items on display everywhere. Many also have a no back stock policy in their back rooms. Both of these things lead to less inventory if something bad were to happen. Obviously this isn't universally true, but it is what I have observed over the years.

Offline jonny2mad

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #73 on: October 10, 2010, 08:22:37 AM »
You have third world countrys where they have hungry people and export food at the same time, during the depression you had farmers destroying food and hungry people in the same country who couldnt afford to buy food .

At the moment the usa and europe can buy food and resources because we are rich or appear to be rich, when we are no longer rich or when the illusion of richness goes, we wont be able to buy food and materials in from abroad .
Look at the amount of oil for example the usa imports , if or when the currency goes even without peak oil would the country be able to get cheap oil and be able to function .

A few years ago in the uk we had a national tanker drivers strike and it was amazing how fast the store shelves emptied, I remember talking to someone who gave a talk about the strike and was involved in disaster planning and london was hours away from being out of food .

During the strike I was late night taxi driving and the police gave us tip offs about when oil supplys would come in so we could keep running they did the same with medical services.

I think you can be sure that empty shelves are coming to America and imagine what sort of effect that would have in a major city, whats the old saying we are only three meals away from anarchy, I'd expect to see rioting like the la riots when people get hungry   

Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #74 on: October 10, 2010, 09:32:18 AM »

Look at the amount of oil for example the usa imports , if or when the currency goes even without peak oil would the country be able to get cheap oil and be able to function .

A few years ago in the uk we had a national tanker drivers strike and it was amazing how fast the store shelves emptied, I remember talking to someone who gave a talk about the strike and was involved in disaster planning and london was hours away from being out of food .

That just reinforces what I said about transportation being the weakest link in the supply chain. It does no good if there is plenty of food sitting in a warehouse somewhere with no means of getting it to the stores.

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Offline Foxfire

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #76 on: October 11, 2010, 12:44:29 AM »
The link you posted will only work for registered users.

Offline womule

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #77 on: October 11, 2010, 07:22:23 AM »
yesterday (sunday)  i went to wally world with the little lady to get a few things.  we usually get a few things even though we are not out, im trying to restore our food storage because it has been depleted from the move.

ground beef, bread, canned food, pastas, and others that i cant remember were cleaned out or picked through and were very low.  thats very unusual for walmart.  i took the opporitunity to talk to my wife about it to get her onboard with my prepping ways.  maybe scare her alittle so she will support my other prepps.

i have a theory about this, but cant articulate it.  basically its tied to rising food prices causing a shortage on the shelves.

Offline daved

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Re: empty store shelves coming to america?
« Reply #78 on: October 11, 2010, 08:15:00 AM »

ground beef, bread, canned food, pastas, and others that i cant remember were cleaned out or picked through and were very low.  thats very unusual for walmart. 

Wal-Mart is one of those stores that quite frequently doesn't like having back stock. So any kind of run on things will wipe out the shelves and there won't be anything to refill it. That being said, the things you mentioned (with the exception of bread) were all things that that should go through their warehouse. They are more likely to have back stock on their own items than on DSD items. Also, I don't see a reason for any sales above the usual for canned goods, pasta, etc. (not like a nice weekend making them run out of hot dogs and buns for instance).
The only explanation I can come up with that is a business as usual type thing would be maybe they have a grocery reset coming up. It is normal to allow things to run down so they have less to move.
Hopefully that's all it is, as that is much better than the alternative.

Offline kiteflyer

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #79 on: October 11, 2010, 10:07:37 AM »
 Corn has reached it's daily limit up for the second trading day! Almost 10%! The Feds say there's no inflation! That's really hilarious isn't it! We are had and governments LIE daily!

            kiteflyer

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE69A21T20101011
 



Offline chris

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Re: Article: Meat Market Corn Crunch
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2010, 01:13:10 PM »
Great news for grass fed beef producers.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #82 on: October 13, 2010, 11:06:21 AM »
MODERATOR'S NOTE: Dollar devaluation posts split off into a separate thread:

Dollar devaluation rumors


Offline OKGranny

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #83 on: October 13, 2010, 12:06:56 PM »
Not to be difficult but I don't see that the possible devaluation of the dollar has anything to do with current food shortages on local grocery shelves. I'm a lot more interested in why my stores are completely out of certain items for weeks (literally) at a time lately. Surely it doesn't take weeks to resupply from a warehouse.

Offline daved

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #84 on: October 13, 2010, 12:48:14 PM »
Surely it doesn't take weeks to resupply from a warehouse.
Actually depending on the item, it could.
I have items that are on a 14 day lead time, there are minimum orders, and some of my routes only load twice a week. If I mis-order something, or there is a big run on it for whatever reason, we may end up being out of stock in the warehouse. I may not even be able to reorder until other items from that supplier run low or there will end up being date issues on the items that didn't run out. When I do order it takes 14 days to get it, and maybe another day or two until it gets on the right truck. Not that this happens often, or should happen at all, but from time to time it does. The items impacted are usually obscure things though, so it's not like there will be 40' of bare shelves at a store.
All this is nothing new though. This kind of thing has always happened. If you are seeing a lot of shortages lately (especially on main stream items) this isn't the cause. I don't have any insight on what could be causing new shortages on any kind of regular basis.

I do find it interesting that people always think there are warehouses full of whatever they may want and it will all be available to be delivered first thing in the morning. I have items that I literally order one case at a time they move so slowly. On the rare occasion that someone wants a second case, they end up having to wait for it. Yes we want to serve the customer, but it doesn't make sense to throw away stale product 51 weeks out of the year so on the 52nd week we can sell an extra case. (OKGranny - none of this was directed at you - just my thoughts in general about the perception of what happens being the scenes in the food business).

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #85 on: October 16, 2010, 11:33:31 PM »
As the economy gets steadily worse and fuel prices rise and rise again, I think we will see a local-production food industry appear, expressed as a myriad of small "one day only" farmer's markets popping up at 5 to 10 mile intervals in suburban and rural areas.

Traditionally, the weekend farmer's market has been located in large established flea markets, but I think that's going to change. People are just not going to be inclined to drive 20 miles one way to hit a mega-flea market. And they are going to want to be able to shop more than only two days a week.

Two small farmer's markets have popped up in my area recently. They offer fresh and home-prepared foods, nursery plants, small livestock, and a few home craft items like handmade soaps. But no "Little Taiwan" stuff.

One is open on Wednesdays, one on Fri & Sat.

Both of them set up on lots about 125' feet square, including parking. Both have less than twenty vendors, and their prices are usually a little better than retail.

This is kind of a long lead-in, but what I'm getting to is that we may soon see the development of networks of ultra-small farmer's markets, located and scheduled to allow a person to shop daily without doing much traveling.

That is common in many third-world countries. Farmers can bring their produce to market every day of the week, and buyers can shop every day of the week in a series of rotating marketplaces--always located within a reasonable distance of a given village.

Shelf-shortages in box stores that routinely bring foods in from 1500 miles away may not matter as much as many people fear (here in the US, anyway) because local production may be able to pick up the slack, and do so at advantageous prices.

Offline Randy

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Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs
« Reply #86 on: October 25, 2010, 09:02:29 PM »
Anyone who listens to the podcasts should know this is is occurring, but it's just another confirmation that we should be prepping.

"World wheat and maize prices have risen 57%, rice 45% and sugar 55% over the last six months and soybeans are at their highest price for 16 months." & "food riots in Mozambique that killed 12 people last month"



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/25/impending-global-food-crisis

Offline hanzel

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Re: Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs
« Reply #87 on: October 26, 2010, 07:31:17 AM »
Anyone who listens to the podcasts should know this is is occurring, but it's just another confirmation that we should be prepping.

"World wheat and maize prices have risen 57%, rice 45% and sugar 55% over the last six months and soybeans are at their highest price for 16 months." & "food riots in Mozambique that killed 12 people last month"



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/25/impending-global-food-crisis

Are the "prices" really increasing or are the global currencies falling ? 

Looking at gasoline prices this morning in pre 1964 coins, we are currently looking at about 17 cents a gallon.

AAA unleaded national average = $2.81,  Coinflation pre 1964 dime = $1.71

$2.81 / $1.71 = .164 or ..  .17 a gallon

First I was told, $1 for a mercury dime was to much, then I was told $1.25 was to high, and I was really ripped off when I bought them for $1.50.

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #88 on: October 26, 2010, 02:56:55 PM »
Here is a link to a pdf file you can download of "The Food Bubble", an article in Harper's July issue: http://frederickkaufman.typepad.com/files/the-food-bubble-pdf.pdf
This is the author's website: http://frederickkaufman.typepad.com/

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Food prices increasing, possible shortages (merged topics)
« Reply #89 on: October 26, 2010, 04:33:01 PM »
I'm not so concerned with actual shortages on our grocery store shelves unless our government decides to "help" the poor consumers by instituting price controls...

Prices are up markedly from just 1-2 years ago, from what I can see.