Great news, fans of eating. Groceries are set to get even more expensive!
I kid. It’s not great news. Is there even such a thing anymore?
Beef, already expensive, is up 10 per cent this year and will rise further, as will pork.
Because in addition to a never-ending pandemic, we’ve had a drought this summer that has pushed grain prices through the roof. And this has beef ranchers having to make the tough decision to cull their herds because they can’t afford to feed them.
And when you cut herds there are fewer animals to sell, which leads to a shortage, which leads to rising prices.
And as you savvy eaters know, we also consume grain directly, not just through meat. So expect bread prices to rise as well, and all other bakery goods.
Our friend the chicken, however, remains economical, so we can continue to enjoy, just not in a sandwich.
Also fruits and vegetables, which we are supposed to consume more of, remain relatively inexpensive.
Is the world trying to tell us to eat healthier? Perhaps it is.
This pandemic has actually had quite an effect on the overall supply chain and there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason as to what those shortages are.
Computer chips are in very short supply. In fact the New York Times reports that due to the chip shortage, Toyota will be cutting its global car production by 40 per cent.
The Canadian Press reported that overall Canadian auto sales were down by over 11 per cent because of the same chip shortage. And General Motors will be shutting down production in almost all its North American plants for a couple of weeks due to the chip shortage. You can’t tell me all this is going to make cars cheaper.
We all watched that giant ship get stuck in the Suez Canal last year, and the closure of that vital shipping lane for a period of time did damage to the global supply chain. So too, does the pandemic. Key ports, especially in China, have been closed at times due to COVID.
We are all so very inter-connected.
As the Times put it, “A shipping container that cannot be unloaded in Los Angeles because too many dockworkers are in quarantine is a container that cannot be loaded with soybeans in Iowa, leaving buyers in Indonesia waiting, and potentially triggering a shortage of animal feed in Southeast Asia.”
There’s even a shortage of shipping containers themselves, as at the beginning of the pandemic they were diverted from other uses to ship items like face masks.
The Times also reports that many small businesses are already ordering Christmas stock, hoping that it will arrive before December. And hope is really all you can do as so many myriad blips around the world continue to play havoc with the supply chain.
And guess what? Because of all the problems, the price of shipping itself is rising and rising and rising.
And all through the pandemic we have been consuming and consuming. We are ordering things to amuse us as we have to stay home more. Exercise equipment, baking equipment, home renos — have you seen the price of lumber? Although, in one bit of good news, lumber prices are falling again.
There’s no real end in sight to all this supply chain turmoil. so we all have to hunker down. And maybe we need to plant a few more gardens.