Noticing a shortage of your favorite grocery items? Here’s why

What to do when your favorite grocery items are out of stock

Today

1/21/2022 12:00:00 AM

What to do when your favorite grocery items are out of stock

The pandemic is still causing grocery item shortages and higher prices. Here's how to work around it.

or missing from grocery shelves.items in the bakery category and refrigerated dough will be difficult to find right now. "The supply chain issues that have been leading to food prices increases and that are hampering food supplies are continuing," he said."On top of that, the omicron variant is leading to rapid rise in COVID cases across the country, and workers in food processing, distribution and retail calling in sick have hindered the ability to keep shelves full of all items in some locations."

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Inflation has caused prices to rise on some of our supermarket staples, including milk, eggs and ground beef."Just about everything is going through the roof," Phil Lempert, food trends analyst and editor of SupermarketGuru.com, told NBC News correspondent Tom Costello. Consumer prices rose by 7% in December over the previous year, as companies tried to offset pandemic shipping issues and make a profit on consumers' return to spending. All this adds up to a recipe that may be tricky to follow when key ingredients are too pricey or missing from grocery shelves. Jayson L. Lusk, a distinguished professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University told TODAY Food that according to data from IRI items in the bakery category and refrigerated dough will be difficult to find right now. "The supply chain issues that have been leading to food prices increases and that are hampering food supplies are continuing," he said."On top of that, the omicron variant is leading to rapid rise in COVID cases across the country, and workers in food processing, distribution and retail calling in sick have hindered the ability to keep shelves full of all items in some locations." So what to do if you can't find the ingredients on your shopping list? Marisa Moore , RDN, a culinary and integrative dietitian told TODAY that keeping an open mind and being creative are the best strategies. "If you can’t find your usual jarred marinara, simmer canned tomatoes, onion, fresh or dried basil or Italian herbs and extra virgin olive oil for a simple sauce instead," she said."Or try a pesto." With impending winter storms, you might see less bread on the shelves. Moore said to use a lettuce wrap or tortillas or check the deli section of the store for pita. "If you want tacos but cannot find your usual tortillas, buy masa harina and make them fresh at home," she suggested."You’ll only need masa harina, salt, and water. Or switch it up and add your taco toppings to rice or salad greens for a taco-style rice bowl or salad." If ground beef is your go-to but it can't be found or the price is too high, consider making a meatless lasagna or a plant-based burger instead. "You can try a ground meat substitute or if you want to stick to meat, look for ground chicken or turkey," she said."This is also a good time to try stretching meat by adding in finely chopped mushrooms. With this the meat you buy goes further but you also add fiber and more flavor to the meal." Susan Greeley, RD and chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education​ told TODAY Food that stocking a few key items can help prevent a kitchen emergency. "When fresh milks and other dairy items are lacking, I make it a point to keep the UHT (boxed) versions of most milks on hand," she said."From whole milk to non-dairy options including almond, oat, soy and hemp, there are endless non-refrigerated options these days." Greeley said that canned evaporated milk is also a way to always have milk on hand and that it’s great in recipes for cream-based soups, for use in baking and even in your morning coffee. "Ground poultry and also pork have been hard to come by recently," she said."If you are looking to add more meatless meals to your repertoire and simply forgo the ground meat, be sure to stock up on canned beans. You can also use tempeh or tofu in place of the meat. Otherwise, simply swap the ground meats for skinless, boneless chicken thighs that can be used in many of the ways that ground chicken or turkey would be, such as a chili, casseroles, soups or stews." Greeley said you can also switch things up by buying fresh wings and drumsticks which may be more readily available. "When fresh herbs are lacking, check for frozen versions, and stock up on jarred herbs, spices and seasoning blends," she said."Fresh garlic and onions are pantry staples as well." Related: