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Grocery gridlock: Supermarket supply chains under strain

Empty Supermarkets

Empty supermarket shelves have become a common economic side effect of COVID-19 globally. While there is little shortage of produce, staff absences in supply chains and delayed deliveries have only increased due to the recent surge in Omicron cases.

Meanwhile, stores scramble to restock where they can, often leaving disappointed shoppers having to find alternative ways for sourcing items on their shopping list.

We asked 2,857 people, taken from nationally representative samples from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, how supply chain shortages have affected their weekly supermarket shop and if they’ve noticed local eateries adapting their menus. Here’s what we found:

Toilet paper and personal hygiene products were amongst the hardest to find items in all four countries. Chicken, fish or meat was also noted as being in short supply in Australia and the US.

Over one-fifth of Aussies were unable to find medicines in supermarkets in the last 6 months. In comparison, only 15% of Americans, 9% of Brits and 6% of Kiwis had the same difficulty. 

1 in 2 people just managed without, if they were unable to purchase items they wanted from their supermarket.

55% of Kiwis found that their weekly shopping bill had increased, compared to about half of Brits and Americans. Aussies however believed their weekly spend remained about the same (43%).

Almost three-quarters of Aussies and Kiwis have not noticed any changes to menus at restaurants and fast food outlets, compared to two-thirds of Brits and about half of Americans.

The infographic below represents further key findings from the research:

Infographic: Supply chain issues