As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease and allow supply chains to recover, more than half of grocery shoppers in the United States have been able to find items that were previously out of stock during the height of the pandemic, according to market research from The NPD Group.
To be exact, the firm found that 68 percent of American grocery shoppers were able to locate high-demand food and beverage staples in the week ending on May 28. Only 32 percent of shoppers weren’t able to find what they were looking for because their local grocery store was out of stock during the same period, the firm noted from its NPD NET COVID-19 Pantry & Food Strategy Tracker.
“With the majority of households still preparing all their meals and snacks in-home in May and the continuing supply chain challenges, limited or out of stock situations are inevitable,” said David Portalatin, NPD’s food industry advisor regarding its recent findings. “Considering the unprecedented situations the COVID-19 pandemic has presented over the last few months, the U.S. food supply chain has held up remarkably well.”
The recovery of most supply chains has allowed consumers to continue pantry and fridge stockpiling as the status of pandemic remains unclear.
There have only been a three percent drop in the number of food and beverage items households have been keeping stashed away now compared to the percentage that was recorded in early April, The NPD Group wrote.
However, the grocery items that were out of stock for some U.S. consumers were in the meat and poultry; pasta, rice and beans; water, coffee, tea and juice; fruits, vegetables and potatoes and dairy.
Most notably, meat and poultry items had the highest percentage of shoppers reporting their desired cuts were out of stock in the week ending on May 28 at 51 percent, which may be connected to the coronavirus outbreaks that have occurred at processing plants. Although, The NPD Group did note that meat and poultry were even scarcer the week before at 61 percent.
The next most out of stock categories were water, coffee, tea and juice at 33 percent in the week ending on May 28, which was a spike from 25 percent observed in the previous week. Fruits, vegetables and potatoes were the third highest out of stock category at 25 percent in the week ending on May 28, which was another spike from the week prior at 18 percent.
Dairy items, including milk, cheese and dairy alternatives were also hard to find for some in the week ending on May 28 with 17 percent of consumers not being able to find what they need. This is more than double the amount from the week ending on May 21, at 8 percent.
Pasta, rice and beans, however, improved significantly with more than half of its supply chain recovering within one week. Ten percent of customers reported these items as out of stock in the week ending on May 28 compared to the 24 percent who reported the same in the week ending on May 21.