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Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Supply chain crisis causes shortage of holiday goods, high prices in USA

Costs for holiday shopping has significantly increased this year for Americans as the holiday season arrived.

At a supermarket in Houston on the day of Thanksgiving Thursday, some customers doing last minute holiday shopping say they are now paying more attention to prices because for months they’ve been paying more and more for groceries at the checkout counter.

Economists from the Agriculture Department suggest the continued rising prices were caused by a number of factors, including the impact suffered in the economy and the supply chain for nearly the past two years, increasing pressures of inflation, and the continuing pandemic making it hard for the market to accurately predict people’s demand for meat.

For turkeys, arguably, the most important dish in the Thanksgiving dinner, people are paying considerably more because of supply problems, according to David Anderson, professor and extension economist at Texas A and M University’s department of agricultural economics.

“For the year, (turkey) production is down for 4 to 5 percent from last year, and wholesale prices are up about 18 percent. So if there’s something that you like the best, your preferred brand or size, or even fresh verses frozen, that’s where you might want to be more flexible or shop early,” said Anderson.

Other popular food on the Thanksgiving dinner menu also saw different levels of price increases. According to the latest data from the Department of Agriculture, the average cost of making a 10-people Thanksgiving dinner at home has increased from last year’s 46.9 dollars to 53.31 dollars this year, up by 14 percent.

Liquor is also facing alcohol and glass bottle shortage this holiday season, which means customers may have to look a little harder to find their Christmas ‘spirit’ this year.

Alcohol is still a choice gift for some. Ahead of Thanksgiving, liquor stores are receiving an increasing number of holiday shoppers.

“I found what I came to find, and I look overloaded, gladly it’s not all for myself. I’m going to be giving the gifts before Thanksgiving this year, so that they can celebrate the holidays,” said retired teacher Carol Royer at a liquor store in Dulles, Virginia.

There’s been booming demand in the United States for booze during the coronavirus pandemic, and amid ongoing supply chain issues, there are some gaps on the shelves.

“In volume terms, we saw a four percent increase in 2020. Typically, we would see about a 2.5 percent increase — that would be the average. But more importantly was what those products were. They are realy the higher price products, which tend to be in limited supply to begin with,” said David Ozgo, Senior VP of Economic and Strategic Analysis at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

At the same time the industry is affected by global supply chain issues. Forty percent of all distilled spirits are imported into the country. Some domestic brands aren’t able to get raw materials like glass bottles. And there’s a fixed supply of specialist spirits, such as aged whiskeys that were put into casks years ago, which led some states to ration the purchase of certain bottles in short supply, to one per customer a day.

Overall, in Virginia, out of a total of more than 5,000 spirits, less than 200 are out of stock, meaning there are plenty of alternative options. Alcohol industry representatives are keen to emphasize that despite the rise in demand, and short supply, there are still thousands of different spirits, wines and beers available in the United States.

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