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12 items to buy now as 2023 supply chain shortages loom

Updated January 15, 2023 - 8:02 am

It’s a cliche to say hindsight is 20/20, but as shortages and supply chain issues continue, it definitely feels valid for shoppers. If only we could go back and tell our pre-pandemic selves to buy extra hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Certainly, some supply chain shortages and issues caused by the pandemic — and, in some cases, panic buying — have eased. For instance, the waiting-list-only demand for bicycles is mostly resolved.

However, other shortages remain challenging and are unlikely to be solved soon.

Why supply chain problems will persist

Periodic shortages of popular goods are not unprecedented, but supply disruptions may be a long-term problem for global trade.

Multiple supply chain issues — such as problems at production facilities, already fragile global supply chains, production capacity, climate change, and labor and truck driver shortages — have converged to create the perfect consumer storm. And while we’re unlikely to see the empty shelves of 2020 and 2021, the supply chain crisis is far from over.

Unfortunately, it may take years rather than months to resolve shortages completely, particularly in the semiconductor industry, where the production of cars, smartphones, computers and cameras has been affected.

We can’t always predict when some products will be back in stock (parents are still struggling to find baby formula), but you can shop (or order) now for some items and avoid higher prices and empty shelves later.

Here are 12 products expected to be affected by supply chain shortages and heavy consumer demand in early 2023.

Cereal, bread and flour

Lettuce

Champagne

Eggs

Prescription medications

Tomato products

Cement and concrete

Olive oil

Sand

Bottled water

Poultry

Liquor and beer

12 things you should stock up now to avoid shortages

But first, don’t give in to the temptation of panic buying. Artificial demand can create supply chain disruption — think the great toilet paper shortage of 2020.

Picking up a few extra items or buying early is a smart way to stock up, though, without emptying store shelves for other shoppers.

1. Cereal, bread and flour

If it’s made out of grain, specifically wheat, it will only get more expensive. The price of grains is soaring due to the war in Ukraine, stressing the world’s wheat supply. Complicated by the destruction of Ukraine’s power grid, this problem is likely to be a long-term one. So squirrel away a few extra cereal boxes or a big bag of flour for the winter.

2. Lettuce

During the fall and winter, much of the U.S. enjoys lettuce from California, specifically the Salinas Valley. But this year’s crop was struck with a virus, decimating up to 75% of the local supply of both iceberg and romaine varieties and sending the price skyrocketing 400%. When you spot a sale, try to stock up on freezer-friendly heads of romaine, spinach or butter lettuce.

Avoid getting a slimy handful of greens next time you reach into the fridge with our tips on how to store spinach so it lasts.

3. Champagne

Champagne shortages started with a drought affecting the crop in early 2022, and a glass shortage has compounded the issues. Experts anticipate champagne won’t dry up, but some brands will be pricey and scarce. If bubbly is your thing, supply lines should improve again once seasonal demand eases.

4. Eggs

While concerns about most things in the dairy case have eased, eggs are still in short supply and experiencing significant price hikes. Much of this is due to a raging avian flu epidemic that is ravaging the global supply of poultry and creating consumer distrust of overseas sources.

5. Prescription medications

Perhaps most concerning of all are current shortages of popular prescription medications such as antibiotics, antivirals and even ADHD medications, which are largely driven by increased demand. And while you can’t always stock up on meds, you can keep a closer eye on your pill supply and allow extra time for refills at the pharmacy.

Are you a retiree who needs help paying for your meds? Explore the assistance programs that help ensure lifesaving prescriptions stay affordable.

6. Tomato products

Due to extreme drought, California is struggling to keep the tomato crop from going under this year. That means higher prices for everything tomato, including staples like salsa, marinara sauce and even ketchup (gasp!).

Toss a few extra bottles of anything tomato into your cart in the coming weeks to see some savings later.

7. Cement and concrete

We’re not trying to crack you up with this one, but the construction industry is having a major issue with keeping steady supplies of concrete and cement on hand. If you’re planning to have some work done around the house in 2023 that involves pouring cement, it might be best to start planning now.

8. Olive oil

Heat waves in Spain are threatening the olive harvest this year. This means — you guessed it — olive oil supplies are threatened. Get ahead by buying one more bottle of olive oil next time you shop.

Extra-virgin olive oil should be kept in a cool, dark place and stored for up to 20 months.

9. Sand

It may sound like sand is a niche product, but chances are you have some in the garage or shed. Maybe you have a kid with a sandbox or you use it to reduce friction on icy walks, but you should grab an extra bag the next time you’re at the hardware store because environmental experts say the sand supply chain disruption is here to stay.

10. Bottled water

As groundwater dries up out West and boil notices become more frequent, many towns and even large cities are having to turn to bottled water for short-term survival. And while you shouldn’t make the bottled water supply more stressed for those in need, it’s worth having an extra case on hand in case of a crisis.

11. Poultry

Avian flu and labor shortages on production lines mean poultry supplies of chicken and turkey have also been hard hit. Several countries, like the U.K., where poultry is a popular holiday menu item, are braced for scarcity and rising costs as trucking capacity compounds problems.

Because of the global supply chain and consumer demand, what starts across the pond doesn’t always stay across the pond, so freeze an extra bird or two before stores raise prices.

12. Liquor and beer

Don’t panic, but pretty much everything in a glass bottle or aluminum can is vulnerable to price increases and shortages right now. That includes liquor and beer — and even products you haven’t thought of, like maple syrup. Shortages of beer and fizzy drinks in particular are also tied to disruptions in key materials like the supply of carbon dioxide.

Replenishing the bar when increased seasonal demand eases might help your household avoid the bottleneck.

Buy now, save later

Shortages aren’t always predictable, but anticipating supply chain disruptions can help shoppers get ahead of empty shelves. And if you have the space and funds to stock up now, those savings can really add up later.

Kaz Weida is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.

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