No, these kinds of shortages can affect stuff like bread, pasta, lunch meat, cheese, milk, and more. Even stuff like chocolate, diapers, and shoes have been hard to find. Read on to learn more and maybe even find out why.
If you've gotten delivery or takeout recently, you might have noticed that you aren't getting as many ketchup packets with your meal – or none at all. There is a shortage of ketchup, but it mostly manifests as a shortage of the little packets you get from fast food places. This is due to regulations made for dining in.
Diners were discouraged from staying in the restaurant while they ate, which meant a lot more delivery and takeout. There just weren't enough ketchup packets to go around. Heinz has had to step up production by twenty-five percent, creating twelve billion packets every year.
Did something happen to the therapists? Well, no, other than they suddenly got a lot of work. With people being forced to stay home and not see friends or go outside for a while, mental health became a much bigger issue. What happens when a lot of people need something at the same time? Shortages.
There is still the same number of therapists, but they don't have the time to meet the demand. In recent years, demand has spiked, but that also means a lot of current students might just be changing their majors.
A lot of families decided it would be a good idea to add someone to the home while everybody was stuck inside – what better time to train a new puppy (or give an old shelter dog a home) while you don't have to go to work? Dogs were in especially high demand, which meant that a lot of basic dog necessities like dog food were needed everywhere.
Many stores saw bags flying off the shelves, and the shortage ended up lasting a long time. The growth in the pet population doesn't seem to be slowing down.
We bet while you were stuck at home, the only thing you could think about was what your next phone was going to be. No? Well, you aren't alone in not thinking about that. Lots of people decided they would forgo the newest models, and this was especially bad for the Xiaomi brand.
Mobile phone sales have declined twenty percent in recent years, and the market is still trying to get back up to where it once was. Not only was demand low, but supply was also low – mostly because of the microchip supply chain. Demand will probably kick back up eventually.
Garlic might not be something that you need every single day, or even in every single meal, but a lot of people use it for a lot of things...and about seventy percent of it comes from China.
When China decided to shut its borders to keep things from escaping, it also meant that the supply chain for lots of products – even simple things like garlic – was suddenly disrupted. Prices soared and supply plummeted. Other countries such as Argentina stepped in to help out, but it couldn't reach the export level that China had been fulfilling.
Canned and Frozen Vegetables
In order to stock up, people flocked to supermarkets and grocery stores so they can fill up on all the basics, like peanut butter. Another staple that lots of people grabbed was canned and frozen vegetables since they have a long shelf life and don't take up a lot of space.
This, of course, resulted in a lot of places being unable to keep up with demand, but a sudden aluminum shortage made it even worse. Finally, shipping around the world was disrupted, which meant canned goods suddenly became increasingly rare.
Tell people that you're going to make it impossible for them to get coffee, and a lot of them might respond with rage. A massive increase in global commerce has resulted in shipping containers suddenly going for a premium, and a lot of basic goods were caught with the short end of the stick.
One of those goods was the dependable coffee bean. Coffee stockpiles in the United States reached a tremendous low despite a record crop in Brazil. Higher shipping costs, longer shipping times, and poor weather have all contributed to less coffee in our cups during the day.
The tech industry was struck hard by the changes that came about in 2020. Microchips became a lot harder to produce and ship around the world, which meant that plenty of electronics became hard to find. Laptops were one of the big ones, and it was also due to another effect of 2020.
With so many kids stuck at home, whether homeschooling or using the internet for public school, the supply of simple laptops shot through the roof. Plus, lots of people started working from home – that didn't help either. It all resulted in massive shortages that are still being worked out today.
A lot of people think the future of energy collecting and consumption on Earth has to do with solar panels, but they've had a bumpy road getting to that point up until now. The last few years have made it even worse since worldwide shortages of something called solar glass – a special material that is critical to the production of panels – began.
These shortages came from China, which did its darndest to not let anything get out during 2020. It's made it far more difficult for companies and homes to make the energy switch they had planned for.
Even with lots of people trying to get fit while they were stuck inside, Nike couldn't keep up with the demand. But it wasn't the products that were out of stock – it was the shipping containers themselves.
With limited space on the limited number of ships that were sailing across oceans, the demand for Nike was too high for them to keep up with. Nike took a hit during this period, and they're still making their way back to where they had sat before.
It has become a little harder to find the flavors you like in the last few years. While there has been an aluminum shortage that has made production a little difficult, there's also something else affecting the fizzy drink aisle. The carbon dioxide that produces carbonation.
How is there a shortage of carbon dioxide? Well, apparently it has to be produced – it's a by-product of ethanol, produced in ethanol plants, and there have been a lot of shutdowns recently. Of the around two hundred ethanol plants in the United States, almost seventy have had to close down in the last few years.
A lot of things have been slowing down in the last few years, but the shortage of gasoline (and, thus, rising gas prices) might surprise you. During 2020 and 2021, a lot of truck drivers were left without work as things came to a screeching halt.
Instead of just sitting at home and waiting around, a lot of them decided to get work in other industries to put food on the table. Once normal transportation resumed, the transportation industry was left with a shortage of qualified truck drivers. This means less gas to go around and higher prices at the pump.
How on Earth could we have a shortage of hot dogs? Well, it all comes down to the people that realized they couldn't go to their favorite restaurant and opted for delivery or takeout. Many of them decided to grab a classic and went with a dog, chili or otherwise. Then there were the outdoor gatherings that people opted for instead of meeting inside. What better to grill than a pack of hot dogs?
It all resulted in production and supply chain issues, thus increasing the price and decreasing the supply of this dish. If you're planning a grill day, keep your eyes open.
They might not be the most high-fashion option for your feet, but nobody can deny they're comfortable. With a lot of people stuck inside, they decided they might as well be comfy while they do it, which led to a ton of orders for Crocs – more than they were prepared to handle.
The company has been incredibly successful over the last few years, but that success has come at a cost. Sure, they've made millions, but their supply chain and manufacturing areas have been squeezed thin, resulting in big shortages. Demand is high, supply is down, and that means rising prices.
Is there any better way to isolate than on your own private boat in the middle of a lake? Maybe in space, but that's a lot more expensive. Plenty of lake-adjacent people had the same idea, and that led to a lot of people looking for their first piece of seaworthy transportation. A lack of supplies meant boat sellers were unable to keep up with the demands of the wave-hungry public.
Plenty of amateur sailors are left waiting for a boat that still hasn't come, and it's not like those things are easy to put together in the first place. They also aren't cheap.
For some reason, one of the first things people start hoarding when they see bad news on the horizon is toilet paper. This was certainly the case in 2020 – despite there being no medical reason for it. Nobody needed extra toilet paper. Still, many flocked to stores to stock up on this admittedly critical item.
Unfortunately, those who feared not being able to get toilet paper ended up creating the very shortages they were most afraid of, which left people who didn't panic scrounging for bog rolls. We'd like to remind everybody that there was no reason to do this other than panic.
Specialty Flavor Snacks
While a lot of treats and snacks are still available, you might have noticed that certain flavors are no longer on store shelves. Some companies were able to get away with slowing down production or temporarily bringing it to a halt to make way for other options, but there are some companies that had to trim their menus.
They often had to prioritize the most well-known snacks over specialty flavors in order to try and make ends meet. A lot of snack options were discontinued, and no one is sure if they'll ever come back.
We've all been granted the sudden and unstoppable urge to make sure things are clean for the last few years. While you could grab the bleach and a sponge and start scrubbing, a lot of people decided the easiest way to make sure things were sanitized was to get a container of wet wipes.
Cleanliness is going to be a priority for some time, which means there's going to be a high demand for a long time. A complex supply chain has meant that a lot of store shelves sat empty while people worried about unclean surfaces.
The world's main sugar exporter is Brazil, and they've been dealing with a lot of things. Of all the issues, the biggest one is increasing ethanol prices, which have led a lot of growers to switch to corn instead of sugar. Sugar prices are going up, which will mean that eventually, people will start switching back, but there are still plenty of places that are seeing shortages.
If you're the kind of person that loves baking cookies, you've probably already noticed that some stores don't have the full shelves you're used to. Hopefully, things will even out eventually, but we're still getting there slowly.
Nurses run the world. Or, at least, they run the hospitals and nursing homes. With a lot of people suddenly being forced to stay home, a large amount of the workforce decided that it was just the right time to retire. The baby boomer workforce is slowly aging out of their jobs, and later generations are having a hard time filling the gaps.
Dense population areas are having an incredibly difficult time finding people to take up positions in healthcare. California is the worst in the country, with the state likely to face an incredible shortage by 2030.
It hasn't exactly been high time for high fashion in the last few years. A lot of companies have taken big hits, and Burberry is one of them. A lowered demand for high-end fashion has made it difficult for stores to stay open.
If you aren't going out at all, why bother with getting dressed up? While things like slippers, loungewear, and yoga pants have become far more sought-after, fashionable gear has seen a huge drop in demand.
Used and Rental Cars
People still need cars even in these unprecedented times, but a lot of people aren't willing to give up their old rides. This has created a market where it's tough to find used cars.
Prices are skyrocketing, and shortages of other materials such as microchips have resulted in slower new car production. A lot of buyers are trying to buy older cars. Car companies are even buying back used cars from owners to try and turn them around. Even if you're just looking for a rental, it's going to be difficult.
It's one of the best sodas out there, but even this man of medicine had issues. It began with a shortage of aluminum, and it became worse when a high demand for something to take away the cares of the day hit. The entire soda industry took a nosedive for those two big reasons, but for some reason, Dr. Pepper was the hardest hit. Probably because it's the best.
Pepsi even Tweeted about the shortage, saying they're trying their hardest to get favorite flavors back on shelves. There was also the requisite panic buying (because of...well, shortages), and this company has struggled to keep up.
What to do when you don't want to use public transportation, but still want to head to the park occasionally? The answer, to a lot of people, was simple – pick up a bike! And a lot of people did, leading to an increase in bike sales. It's estimated that the industry as a whole saw a 121% increase in orders during early 2020, and things have only just started slowing down.
The waiting time for a new bike has fluctuated between five and nine months. Moreover, a spare parts shortage has made it hard to fix your bike if you already owned one.
No, this article wasn't written by a vampire. Why do you ask? Maybe YOU'RE the vampire, ever think about that? But really, emergency blood is an extremely useful thing that hospitals and clinics need a lot of, and a lot of people have been reluctant to go to medical facilities for a little while.
Not only that, but the rarer types of blood have become rarer still. This has led to a dangerous shortage of donated blood that a lot of critical patients need. Sanitation at these places is at an extremely high level, so if you still feel in doubt, maybe go donate anyway.
This is an especially weird one – how does the planet run out of oxygen? Well, it's not, but it's the sealed oxygen canisters that are becoming more difficult to find. There were the people that needed them just to get fresh air – due to sleep apnea, old age, and also those who required intubation.
Due to these things (and shipping, supply chains, etc), canned air started becoming more and more expensive and harder to find. You can't just bottle up some air and call it good. It's a complicated process that results in this very necessary gas.
So some things happened in early 2020 that made a lot of people want to try and stay clean. It also made them want to make sure they had enough supplies for what might have been an extended stay inside. Both of these things led to a lot of people stocking up on paper towels.
People panic-bought loads of paper towels, and we bet that most of them haven't even gotten through it all yet, even after so long. Stores and manufacturing just couldn't keep up. Things have improved, but a lot of stores have now implemented rules that say only one package per customer.
We didn't run out of trees, but it takes a little more work for trees to turn into workable lumber. When things started shutting down, people anticipated a slump in the housing market, and lumber providers started adjusting with that change in mind. However, the slump never came, which not only meant low supplies of lumber but also created the housing market bubble that has been going on for a while.
Moreover, lumber for things like furniture has also become hard to come by. Lumber futures soared to more than seven times the price they were in April 2020.
Gold and Silver
There are a lot of complicated financial reasons why the prices of precious metals such as gold and silver have gone up. For gold, it's gotten as high as almost two thousand dollars an ounce. When inflation rises, so does the price of gold and silver. In 2020 alone, the sales of gold bullion coins rose more than 250%, which caused a lot of plant capacity issues.
As a result, a lot of buyers are still waiting for their orders to come in. People decided to diversify their shopping when the world started going crazy, and this is just one of many results.
A high amount of global trade is often seen as a good thing, but when purchases start to ramp up too much, all that time and work can suddenly become a detriment. In recent years, shipping containers have come at a premium, with only so much space to go around.
While people shopped for new things to distract themselves, those shipping containers filled up. We grew sourdough, raised vegetables, and got to work on our side projects while we had all this extra free time, and the shipping containers overflowed. There just wasn't enough space on cargo ships to go around.
With shipping issues all around the world, even random stuff like feta cheese is going to take a hit. Of course, there were safety issues, port closures, and the like, but the reason cheese made from goat's milk suddenly became so rare is none other than the arbiter of all of humanity's ills: TikTok.
One popular video featured a pasta dish with feta cheese, and a lot of people tried to copy it – too many people for the available supply. A lot of stores, even those that pride themselves on their selection, found that people were asking for dairy products they just didn't have.
You'd be surprised how many products require corn for production. It's used as food for humans and animals, it's used to produce fuel, there are plenty of things like high fructose corn syrup that come out of it, and there are numerous by-products. Not to mention popcorn.
A swine fever outbreak in China hurt their pig herds, leading to a greater corn demand in China. In addition, corn crops in Brazil and Argentina have had some bad weather hit them, and there have also been labor shortages. Prices are shooting up, and producers are having problems keeping up with a high level of demand.
Say it ain't so! Not even chicken wings are safe from the shortages that have been striking across the country and the world. The problem here is mainly because of the weather, though the supply chain issues are of course also to blame. Texas and the surrounding states are the biggest suppliers of chicken wings for the country, and a major snow and ice storm hit them, making it hard for the states to produce the right amount.
Not only has there been a rise in prices, but some stores have even removed this classic bit of American fare from their menus.
Precious, precious bacon. What would we do without it? Be a little healthier, probably. Believe it or not, restrictions on indoor gatherings have made bacon a lot more difficult to come by. The simple reasoning is, outdoor gatherings often mean more food, and everybody likes a little bit of bacon on their burgers.
People meet up to grill up while maintaining the right amount of distance, but the agriculture industry has been struggling to keep up. It's thought this is going to continue for some time, so no better time to fry up some tofu. We're kidding. Or are we?
No one thought that we would all be trapped inside our homes, with some not even able to go to work for months. Thus, Nintendo's latest piece of deluxe hardware became the purchase of the season. Lots of parts of the gaming industry were hit hard with incredibly high demands, creating worldwide shortages.
Their facilities are currently running at over a hundred percent, hoping to meet the demand, which is thirty million units higher than predicted. Games are still being developed, which means even more shortages.
Baby Yoda Toys
Baby Yoda was the hot new thing for everybody. The problem is a lot of that sweet, sweet Star Wars merch was produced in China.
There were big supply chain issues, shipping times were long, and a lot of people suddenly had a lot more time to browse the internet for fun stuff they've always wanted. Adding to the fact that games and toys are low on the totem pole compared to things like medicine, personal protection, electronics, and other far more critical things, it meant a lot of people had to wait a long time for their action figures.
Big Screen Movies
Back in the day, going to the movie theater was the best way to see a new flick. Not so much anymore – Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming options mean you can see the new stuff for less right from your own home. The industry was having issues before 2020, but now it's on red alert.
Cinema closures and delays in filming kept studios from earning what they expected. In Hollywood time, pushing a release date back a year is an incredible amount of time. The big movie theaters might not be gone yet, but things are getting dicey.
When things started to go belly-up around the world, a lot of people surged to the stores to stock up on the essentials – for about half the population, that includes tampons. Throw in the classic production, supply chain, and shipping issues, and you have a lot of people starting to see their supply run dry.
There's also the fact that women who were already living in poverty had an even more difficult time finding the proper hygiene supplies. With a lot of people wondering where their next meal is coming from, being able to afford these basic supplies becomes ever more difficult.
If you like staying frosty in the summer, you have China to thank. They produce and export an eye-popping 210 million air conditioner units a year, from the big commercial ones to smaller house sizes to apartment wall units.
However, the supply chain and shipping issues that have been plaguing the world for the past few years have made it impossible for production and transportation to keep up with demand. This wasn't helped by the fact that sales for residential units skyrocket, thanks to people having to spend a lot of time at home.
In an effort to reduce contact between cashiers and buyers, a lot of companies have decided to do away with cash purchases, going with debit and credit cards only. Physical money is notoriously dirty – you don't even want to know where some of that stuff has been. Plenty of businesses had been going cashless, but a lot of them started following suit, and it did something a little unexpected.
It joined bank closures to create interruptions in the distribution of coins – you might have noticed that your cold hard cash supply dropped away a little, even if you weren't doing as much buying.
This one almost sounds like it's a joke. But, in reality, it makes perfect sense. A lot of people looked around the home for hobbies they could do while they were stuck inside, and more than a few turned to pickling. It didn't even have to be pickles – any veggies were at risk of being shoved inside a jar and left in the cupboard for a few months.
This has led up to restaurants going through pickle shortages, and no, that's not a punchline, even if it does make you feel like laughing.
Just like a lot of other standard fares, palm oil has been going through shortages, but it's because of different things than the normal supply chain issues or shipping times. Most of the palm oil in the world comes from Malaysia, and those oil palm estates have been facing a massive labor shortage, resulting in far less palm oil being produced than expected.
The reason for this is it's mostly been foreign workers that have picked the fruit that creates the oil in the past – and restrictions about crossing borders have made it much harder for those workers to show up when expected.
We all felt a little lazy during 2020, but some people decided to put their money where their mouth is. Or their butt, or something like that. Plenty realized that if they're just going to be sitting around all day, they might as well do it in style.
Of course, all the classic issues came up as more and more orders poured in for La-Z-Boys. Supply chain issues, shipping, lumber shortages, and bad winter storms have all made it difficult for people to get their fancy recliners. The production was running months behind – up to more than half a year at some points.
2020 was a year when a lot of us needed a little something extra to get through the day. Nothing, not even wine, is immune to supply chain issues that have come up in the last few years. We hit the worst wine shortage in a long time, and it's taking some time to climb back out of it.
Vineyards, even the big dependable ones, have been struggling. Wine production hit a fifty-year low, dropping eight percent from 2019. Prices are bound to increase, and even the no-name bottles that you pick up at the grocery store may start to seem expensive.
Even in unprecedented times, babies still gotta poop. Well, we all do, but it's mostly babies who are using diapers. Mostly. Not only have there been big supply chain issues, but there was also the weather.
An unexpected Texas freeze forced a bunch of chemical plants to shut down, resulting in shortages of acrylic acid – something that is especially helpful in diapers. This, coupled with panic buying, meant there were diaper shortages across the country. A number of people took the opportunity to move to cloth diapers, which you have to wash, but at least you don't have to keep buying them.
Even in the supply chain issues and production slowdowns that have occurred lately, there are silver linings. Industries that came across problems and setbacks could start working on correcting them. Of course, that didn't help at the moment, especially for those who needed a new transmission.
A large percentage of parts for the auto industry are made in China, and they had an awful time figuring out shipping and production. Unfortunately, it's just so much cheaper to get a lot of things produced in China and then shipped over than it is to make it stateside. Almost every auto company has been seeing delays.
A big microchip shortage means problems for a lot of industries. One that people might not think of when microchips come to mind is work trucks. Small businesses depend on these vehicles to get around, and they're already hard hit by everything that has been going on.
They've been unable to replace their old models, and a lot of these trucks work hard to clear roads after storms or other critical jobs. Demand increased in 2020 and supply dropped off at the same time, and communities across the globe could be in dire straits if they aren't able to get newer trucks.
Sometimes things just go from bad to worse. Right when most people ever were trying their hardest to make sure things are clean, there was a chlorine shortage. People need it for a lot of things, but a nice clean pool is often the biggest demand. Then it was Hurricane Laura that became the issue.
It struck a BioLab chemical plant in Louisiana, starting a fire and making it hard to produce a chemical that is in high demand, even if a lot of people don't realize it. Low supply and a demand that hasn't shifted have resulted in much higher prices – sometimes double.
Yeah, apparently the entire brand. Due to changes in the world, this athletic gear company was forecasted to lose between fifty and sixty million dollars. The main issue seems to be with their supply chain, and the loss of raw material supplies caused a lot of inventory problems.
This was a big deal for a lot of major companies after China decided to shut its borders. Despite home fitness rising when gyms closed, this company is still trying to get back to where they were before the world was changed forever.