CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you've been to the grocery store lately, you may be seeing some empty shelves. The industry is facing another supply chain issue, but this one is not solely because of the pandemic.
Large chain grocery retailers are struggling to keep food on the shelves. As for the small grocery businesses, they’re taking a hit, but not seeing the full effects just yet.
“Right now we’re living in the fear where we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow," said Peter Patel, owner of QC Meat Market. "So right now we just have to take it one day at a time.”
For the most part, Patel has kept his shelves full, but he says he has to buy extra just to make sure they are full.
"We have some stocks, but all the major brands we are not able to get it," he said. "So, we have to rely on the generic brand to just keep our shelf full."
Recent winter weather has delayed deliveries. Ports continue to be overcrowded and understaffed. There was also a recent recall on certain bagged salads. Combined with the recent surge in COVID-19, it’s affecting what you see at the dinner table.
"For us, it’s the supply chain disruptions," Patel said. "A lot of drivers are not going back to work so there’s a lot of product that’s not been shipped. Also, manufacturers having a lot of employees testing positive."
But Jose Martinez said he’s doing alright at Fruit King Produce. His shelves remain stocked as he gets his product here in Texas. But. he does see the supply shortage beginning to affect his suppliers.
“Right now we got the last stock of our grapes and we’re trying to get some more right now," Martinez said, owner of Fruit King. "But we’re looking at prices are going to be way up there, way up there.”
Martinez said he’ll look for other suppliers to be able to keep his food around the same prices.
“Whoever’s got the better deal, we got to go for that," said Martinez. "There’s people out there having problems selling their merchandise and we’re still picking up deals here and there, you know.”
Patel added he thinks prices will continue to rise because of these issues. He said no one has started to panic shop yet, but he expects it’s coming.