Holiday Shortage Fears Are Leading One Major Grocer to Limit Sales of Some Staples

Holiday Shortage Fears Are Leading One Major Grocer to Limit Sales of Some Staples

By Mike Pomranz | FoodAndWine.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Foodie

Publix is putting a cap on the number of some seasonal items that customers can buy as Christmas nears.

Supply chain issues — and the often inevitable shortages that follow — have been widely reported for all sorts of products in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And from there, increased demand due to seasonal buying habits can also cause havoc: For instance, Halloween came with a pumpkin shortage; Thanksgiving came with a turkey shortage.

And so what about Christmas? With two weeks still to go, at least one major grocer is already taking steps to spread the holiday cheer evenly across its customers. Publix — America’s tenth largest food retailer by sales according to Supermarket News — has introduced shopping limits on a number of items, including some products that could be considered holiday staples.

In the lead up to Thanksgiving, Publix had already placed limits on canned cranberry sauce; jarred gravy; cream cheese; bacon; rolled breakfast sausages; disposable plates, cups, and cutlery; bath tissue; refrigerated snacks (such as Lunchables); sports drinks; aseptic type juices (like Capri Sun); canned cat food variety packs; and refrigerated pet food, according to First Coast News.

Now, with Christmas in their sights, a Publix spokesperson confirmed to us that they have further updated their purchase limits due to “ongoing supply issues and increased holiday demand.” Added to the above list are coconut flakes, dairy whipping cream, half & half creamers, frozen pie shells, frozen hashbrowns, and canola, vegetable, and corn oil. According to a company spokesperson, customers are limited to buying two of any individual item in the above sections.

Adding shopping limits right before the holidays may sound like an easy way to disappoint customers, but Maria Brous, Publix’s director of communications, felt otherwise. “We are committed to providing our customers with transparency in messaging and would never want to disappoint them,” she told me via email. “By setting purchase limits and clearly communicating at shelf, point-of-sale and with our media partners, we provide a greater chance that more customers will find and be able to purchase items for their favorite holiday recipes.”

Meanwhile, a Publix spokesperson also clarified to First Coast News that these limits didn’t have a set timeline and “the list can change to include more items or remove items.”

Though Publix has made headlines this week, they are far from the only supermarket dealing with pandemic-related issues. Some common grocery brands like Coca-Cola and Grape-Nuts have struggled to keep their items in stock at stores across the country; meanwhile, as inflation fears have mounted, some chains have taken to stockpiling products, a move that can also further exacerbate supply chain issues.

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By Troy Warren

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