Empty shelves and inflated prices are the new normal in grocery stores across the United States. For months now, previously affordable items have become significantly more expensive, or even impossible to find at all. Many Americans have looked forward to state and local governments lifting restrictions, taking this as a sign that the worst of the pandemic is coming to an end and that things will return to some semblance of regular life soon. However, experts are now shifting their predictions. They say that, despite easing restrictions, the food shortages may get worse yet.
In this video, we are going to tell you which products will be hit the hardest and what experts predict will happen with these ongoing food shortage.
With meat processing plants shutting down across the country, the food supply chain has been seriously disrupted, which is what causes prices to spike for typically cheap basics like meats. During cookout season, items such as chicken and ground beef will come with a much higher price tag than usual.
Last week, Tyson Foods said that 570 out of more than 2,200 of their employees at a poultry plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, tested positive. Tyson is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, as well as the largest exporter of beef in the United States.
There are now more than 11,000 coronavirus cases tied to Tyson Foods, as well as other meat giants like Smithfield Foods and JBS.
The company says the affected workers would get paid time off until they meet guidelines put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tyson itself, at which point they will be allowed to return to work. Situations like these will likely continue to happen throughout the summer, meaning that higher prices at the grocery stores could last well into June or beyond.
While customers suffer from higher prices, grocery store employees will also see their paychecks reduced, further emphasizing the strain on working households.
To make matters worse, major chains like Kroger have removed the “Hero” bonus, an extra $2 an hour paid to employees who work on the front lines during the pandemic. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union criticized these stores for their change in policy.
The union argued that the health crisis is far from over, and that dangers for store workers may have even increased lately, as American shoppers wanting to return to normal get frustrated, confrontational, and in some cases violent over continued store safety policies like wearing masks and implementing social distancing.
The prices Americans paid for basics like eggs, meat, cereal and milk jumped up in April as people rushed to supermarkets in order to stock up on food, worried that widespread government lockdowns would keep them from getting needed resources.
The Labor Department reported that the cost of groceries for Americans jumped by 2.6 percent last month, representing the largest one-month spike that has occurred in almost 50 years, since February 1974.
There were no one or two products affected more than any others. The pandemic has shown little discrimination in which industries and sectors it damages the most, and the food market is no different. The spike in supermarket prices was broad, impacting items from broccoli and ham to oatmeal and tuna.
Meat companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to speed up the process of reopening their plants and bringing in profit.
Much of the disturbance in the food supply chain is a result not even of the pandemic itself, but the extreme fear around its potential to impact workers and businesses. The devastation we are currently experiencing spells trouble for what would be to come should a more serious or prolonged economic collapse hit the country.
In that scenario, many Americans will be left to fend for themselves in terms of basic necessities like food.
So, in the short-term, expect to see food prices continue to rise. As the federal government borrows and spends trillions of newly printed dollars during this pandemic, and the Federal Reserve fails to regulate any of it in attempts to guard against eventual disaster, the US dollar is rapidly plummeting in value. Eventually, this will inevitably lead to extreme inflation. If food prices seem high now, brace yourself. They are only going to go up from here.
“If America stays on the path that it is currently on, the end of America is going to come far more rapidly than most people would dare to imagine,” he said then. Now, he warns that Americans should stock up on essential goods, as food prices continue to rise and the economy becomes increasingly unstable. Food has always seemed like a constant and accessible resource in the United States, but we may very well see the day when that idea is seriously threatened.