What is causing the great food shortage in Europe (photos)?

By | May 16, 2023

HE The “salad crisis” hitting British supermarkets dominated British and European press reports earlier in the year. However the problem with shortage of various foods It does not seem to be limited to neighborhoods affected by Brexit.

Instead, a number of species – from pasta and beer to toothpaste– are becoming difficult to find on the shelves of various stores in Europe, but also in the Middle East. This is a sign of the times, as demand leaves the consequences of the pandemic behind and adapts to its new data. high inflation.

As a related Reuters article reveals, Top retail industry executives, consultants and analysts said supermarkets are struggling to predict demand.since the new ways of buying and the cost of living crisis are changing shopping habits.

“The inflationary pressure that consumers have been under of late means that people stop buying certain products in a more unpredictable way than in the pastsaid Luke Jensen, chief executive of UK online supermarket Ocado. “Because of the higher prices, people are buying smaller amounts of food overall and may have become more careful not to waste food.”

After three weeks of severe UK vegetable shortages in February, the UK government asked retail chains to review relationships with their suppliers.

The situation is complicated by persistent problems in the supply chain and the reluctance of many stores Make big deals with suppliers while raw material prices are high. This causes instability in available stocks of a wide range of products such as chocolate, ketchup and shampoos, Reuters characteristically reports, while the war in Ukraine and extreme weather conditions also play a negative role, also causing disruptions in supply availability.

Laurent Thoumine, head of the same Accent in Europe for the retailstated that the Supermarkets in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain faced the biggest problems with your actions.

The products that are most scarce in some stores are tomato sauce, pasta, chocolate, tea, chips, toothpaste and pet foodaccording to research Data Impact his Nielsen IC.

“Some food ingredients are simply in short supply, like tomatoes for ketchup,” Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Bernstein, adding that problems at some factories have also affected food production.

Extreme weather in Spain this year has affected tomato supplies in Europe, while higher costs have led manufacturers such as Kraft Heinz to raise prices.

“When the products finally reach the supermarket shelveswe see the end result of multiple different negotiations,” said James Brown, a senior partner at consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, which advises major growers on pricing strategies.

Conflict, economic crises caused by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, as well as extreme weather conditions are increasing the number of people suffering from acute hunger and malnutrition, according to the latest edition of the World Report on Food Crises, May 2023

Changing algorithms

Kevin O’Marah, its former executive Amazon and its founder zero100a community for supply chain managers, said the multiple ways to shop are causing “confusion” for stores who don’t know what to order and where.

“Mass disruption has forced supply chain leaders to scramble to gain better control of their planning technology” O’Marah added.

Suppliers are also struggling to determine what consumers want, while rising commodity prices, shipping barriers and shortages of raw materials and labor have made it difficult to fill some orders.

“The dynamics of growth after the pandemic, combined with energy and political discontinuities means that both retailers and their suppliers are having a hard time accurately forecasting demand in a volatile market,” said Ewan Andrew, president of global sourcing at Diageo, which makes Guinness. “There is often a perfect storm of events that contribute to shortages, like you see today in some food supplies in Europe.” .

Spain is facing severe food shortages as severe drought has led to reduced harvests. “Irreversible damage has been caused to more than 3.5 million hectares of crops,” said Spain’s largest farmers’ union, COAG.

Many supermarket companies use artificial intelligence to track and order around 90% of the food supplies for their stores.

in your case Majid Al Futtaim Retailthat feeds the chain Carrefour in the Middle East, the CEO was recently forced to change the parameters established for the order schedule, adding more warehouses and storage areas to ensure you can meet demand.

“However, there is a shortage of 8% to 12% on the shelves,” he said. “Before 2020, this percentage was around 7-9% and now we have seen it increase dramatically.”

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