Surfing the Grocery Shortages

Cans, a victim of 2020

I’m off in the summer, but this year amidst Coronavirus restrictions I feel as busy as ever. One thing that I need to keep on top of is the flow of groceries with all three of us eating at home every day.

In the times before (as my daughter calls pre-COVID life), if you needed something it never crossed your mind that the store would be out of it! Now the oddest things are out of stock.

Paper towels – every time I order them I get a surprise substitution. My last curbside pickup substituted paper towels made from bamboo! I don’t mind these “green” substitutions because they charge me for the cheaper brand I requested.

Canned goods – Did you know there is a shortage of aluminum cans? This article’s headline just sums up 2020, “Oh Great, Now There’s an Aluminum Can Shortage, Too.” If you prefer your beer or soda in a can, you’ll want to get on this. Apparently the issue is the volume of drinks being purchased for the home instead of being served in bars and restaurants. I’m a little nervous for my evening seltzer water habit, and I am picking up extra when they are available.

I try to grab a canned fruit and soup or two each time I have a grocery order; these also can be in short supply.

Pizza – many areas have frozen pizza shortages. I know I have tried to get some Jacks’ Naturally Rising Pizzas since March to no avail. We do have a crust manufacturer in our area and they had some issues with virus spreading in their factory. I imagine having people at home means more demand for pizza. I pick them up when there is a good price.

My husband usually handles our Amazon subscribe and save order, so I have been very good about telling him when I am opening a product from our pantry so he can adjust our order as needed. COVID is fairly high in my state, and I’m not likely to go in person to the store. Since March, I went to Trader Joe’s once, otherwise I do curbside or delivery.

Personally, I try not to let news of shortages send me off buying things we aren’t going to use. There has been a shortage of dried beans, but I rarely use them. Same with yeast… it doesn’t last long, and no sense buying it now when I haven’t made bread in a few years. It’s not a good deal to stock up if you aren’t going to make use of the item in the near future.

What kind of shortages have you experienced where you are? For the longest time we could not find nacho cheese sauce. Then my daughter found a Tik Tok of a family covering their whole dining room table in tortilla chips and making the entire thing nachos. So that’s where all the sauce went!!! See the nacho table for yourself!

12 thoughts on “Surfing the Grocery Shortages

  1. Lady B

    The nacho table is funny and ridiculous at the same time. Our biggest shortages are the Lysol spray and wipes and cleaning products, which is to be expected at this time. Some of the other things like paper towels are hit and miss. We have to buy generic brand to get by.

    1. Jen Post author

      I’m seeing a lot of generic too. Trying to get Kleenex whenever I can. I’ve never been a big stockpiler, but I’m learning to buy a bit extra. This week we could not find Siggis yogurt anywhere. It’s funny how things come and go.

    2. cushn4

      We also have a short supply of the disinfectant types of cleaning products. I usually buy the big jugs of PineSol Lemon scent and mix up my own batch diluting it with water. I just wipe down everything with a rag. Sounds like too much work, but I love to clean. We use paper towels instead of napkins, the three sectioned ones. I am so frugal, I sometimes even cut those in half. LOL! Not worried too much about cans for my drinks. I prefer my beer in a bottle and we buy our water in gallon jugs and refill these using the reversed osmosis water. I bet more and more people will just start to make their own home remedies and recipies and start growing their own food when they can so we don’t have to depend so much on manufacturers for our things like cream of chicken soup….there is a shortage of these sometimes too.

      1. Lady B

        Good ideas! Yea, desperate times cause for desperate measures. I have videos on hand for making my own disinfectant wipes. So far, we haven’t run out because there’s always one or two and we grab it just in case. We are considerate and don’t buy in bulk, but unfortunately everyone doesn’t think that way.

      2. Jen Post author

        I have seen the Clorox wipes coming back on the shelves.. hope that bodes well for the schools that are going back in person In the weeks to come. I tapered off on buying wipes because I’m finding I’m just as likely to use a spray and paper towel or microfiber.

      3. Jen Post author

        Great idea with the PineSol as a spray! I just saw an article that Canada is facing a “White Claw” hard seltzer shortage due to aluminum cans! So our neighbor to the north isn’t immune to the shortages either.

  2. coffeewithisla

    Hi jen! I went to for a supply run this morning – there is a shortage of canned peaches, sparkling water soda cans and baby wipes! in most of the aisles there is a uniformed friendly note reminding customers there is # limit of the same items we can buy a day per household! i hope things get better very soon for all of us! sending you positive vibes your way! ✨

    1. Jen Post author

      Thank you for the updates “from the field”. I have seen some of those same shortages recently. My city has a “mom group” on Facebook and I have been happy to see people sharing things like disinfecting wipes and baby wipes with families who have run out or who maybe work in health care and don’t have time to chase around looking for things.

  3. Silver

    Things have calmed down where we are in the UK now.

    When lockdown started, there was a shortage of cleaning wipes and materials, toilet rolls, bread, eggs, flour, and there were large gaps in the canned food section. This has now largely righted itself again.
    Because there are local areas here that have been put into lockdown due to an increase in cases, and this has happened at very little notice, I have decided to start a stockpile at the back of the cupboard. I buy one or two extra things a week to have, just in case.

    1. Jen Post author

      Great idea to keep a small stockpile going. I try to keep on top of things too and do t let the essentials run down like I used to.
      I yearn to be able to travel to the UK again 😢


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