Playing hard to get – 6 products now in short supply

June 4, 2021

A combination of factors, including the global pandemic, severe winter storms and a hacking incident have caused massive disruptions to U.S. supply chains this year. As we found in an AARP article, here’s a look at what’s currently hard to come by and why.

Will they impact your plans?  That may depend on how much you like ketchup!

Lumber.  Lumber has been in short supply ever since spring 2020, when the pandemic and social distancing restrictions led many lumber mills in the U.S. to close. Production resumed at a much slower rate during the summer and has not been able to keep up with demand, hopefully in 2022.

Chlorine. Just as we’re all getting ready for a summer of splashing, chlorine shortages have kicked in. Sales of personal pools increased dramatically last summer, as families were forced to stay home. To make matters worse, the country’s leading chlorine plant in Louisiana burned down last August and will not reopen until 2022. The country’s two other chlorine manufacturers have not been able to fill the supply gap, and shortages are set to continue through the summer.

Cars. A sharp downturn in semiconductor chip production has caused delays in car manufacturing just as buyers are fueling massive demand for new automobiles. Automakers were forced to halt production during the early months of the pandemic because of lockdown measures and an expected decrease in demand for new vehicles. Demand for new cars bounced back faster than expected in summer 2020, and semiconductor chips are now in short supply.

Gas. Thousands of gas stations in the eastern U.S. shut down recently after a group of hackers launched a cyberattack. The gas distribution system had been under strain for months before the attack. Fluctuating demand for fuel had gas providers struggling to hit the sweet spot, especially after the coronavirus prompted a truck driver shortage in 2020 and low fuel demands ensued, followed by unanticipated high demands from consumers and businesses.

Chicken. Winter storm Uri dealt a serious blow to poultry farms in Texas and other Sun Belt states in February. The storm forced one company to euthanize 545,000 chicks that couldn’t be shipped due to hazardous road conditions and that another 455,000 chickens died due to cold temperatures. Demand for chicken spiked during the pandemic as fast-food chains joined in the “chicken sandwich wars.” Experts predict it will take time to rebuild, but supply should catch up to demand soon.

Ketchup. Believe it or not, a surge in pandemic carryout dining drove massive demand for ketchup. Increased demand has left restaurant owners and national chains scrambling for supplies. Heinz, the biggest ketchup producer in the U.S., announced in April that the company was planning a 25% increase in production to keep up.

The craziness of 2020 had impacts few of us could foresee.  But that’s no reason to defer your dreams.  There are always new solutions right around the corner! We’re ready when you are!

Your Friends at Crystal Creek Builders

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