National Food Shortages in 2022: What US Grocery Store Food Shortages are we Facing This Year?

April 07, 2022 7 min read

wheat growing in a field, a possible source of the upcoming food shortages

As we have seen in the summer of 2022, food shortages are a real threat we face in the United States. This shortage comes just after the 2020 food shortage we faced from supply chain issues due to increased demand and limited supply.

Now we face a new threat of food shortage from the Ukraine and Russia conflict. Even as the fighting is continuing, the wheat harvest needs to be brought in and Russia is preventing the export of existing food stores. Without available storage, even the food that gets harvested in Ukraine will go to waste. In addition, the war has prevented the export of fertilizers, which could threaten next year's food supplies also. With this new food shortage arising we see that these shortages can stem from more than just panic buying and in this situation, it would be great if you buy the bulk food storage to keep you healthy.

However, panic buying will still increase the rate at which our food supplies disappear. To help everyone prepare for the craziness that is going on in the world, let’s look at where the United States gets its food supply, a list of which items might see a shortage, how soon we should expect a food shortage, and how to start prepping for a food shortage.

a grocery store with empty shelves during a food shortage

What Makes Our Food Supply Vulnerable to Food Shortages?

The United States produces most of its food within the states. The United States only imports about 15 percent of its overall food supply from other countries. This is a double edged sword for the United States.

On one hand it's great that we don't heavily rely on other countries to provide food for the United States. On the other hand it becomes problematic when we aren't able to produce enough food in the United States and don’t have the systems in place to import large quantities of food.

The Role of Food Shortages in Inflation

Even though the US produces most of its food internally, a large portion of our food is exported to feed the rest of the world. As other worldwide food sources face constriction, the cost of food on the world market will increase. This will incentivize local food products to be sold worldwide, raising the prices on the food that remains in the US.

We are currently faced with these production problems in 2022 and likely into 2023 as fertilizer has become scarce due to the Ukraine and Russia conflict. Even though we produce a majority of our food in the states we import a lot of the pesticides and fertilizers that help us produce these crops.

With the impending fertilizer crisis right around the corner the United States food production is stuck in an uncomfortable position. There will be less overall food available, reduced selection as certain foods are simply not available at all, and an overall increase in price on the food that can be purchased. Having some food on hand is the first step to preparing for hyperinflation.

A button for the panic buying that would happen during a 2022 food shortage

Is There A Grocery Food Shortage Coming?

As of July 2022 it looks like we will have additional food shortages coming around the corner. 

This stems from the conflict we see erupting at the Russian and Ukraine border. President Biden recently implemented sanctions that prohibit Americans from doing any business with Russia.

The strategy with these sanctions was to squeeze the Russian economy into a point of disarray where they would be forced to withdraw out of Ukraine due to economic restraints.

Yet, as we watch the conflict drag on it doesn’t seem like Russia has any intent of pulling out of the conflict with Ukraine anytime soon. And they've made it clear that they'll weaponize the worldwide food supply as part of the conflict. So what does this mean for the United States?

This means that we will start feeling the repercussions of these sanctions ourselves. The repercussions on the United States will come in the form of fertilizer from Russia as well as increased cost related to the rise in fuel prices for farmers and food transportation.

This year alone the United States planned to import 1.2 billion dollars worth of fertilizer from Russia. Without this fertilizer farms will have to account for this and plant smaller crop fields for the 2022 harvest.

woman looking at empty store shelves during a food shortage

Is The Food Shortage Coming Soon?

Now that we know that a food shortage is coming how soon will we feel the effects from it? We know from the 2020 food shortage that once an announcement about food shortages is released, panic buying ensues and the shelves in supermarkets start to go bare. We're already seeing this is grocery stores across the country, and the biggest parts of the food shortages haven't happened yet.

Although we still have plenty of food right now the increased demand for long shelf life products will cause temporary shortages across many isles. But the shortages won’t end there.

Because the shortage is centered around future crop production we will also face shortages this fall when crops begin to be harvested

Approximately 15% of the wheat produced in the world comes from Russia and Ukraine. With much of that production offline and wheat planting season occurring right now, it’s likely already too late to make up for that wheat shortage that we’ll see during the upcoming harvest season. So this particular food shortage may last for a while.

This is when the real shortages will greatly affect Americans. Once panic buying starts in the fall there will be little supply to replenish the shelves.

 

Which Foods are Likely To Face Shortages?

Wheat Shortages

As already mentioned, for several reasons, we're likely to experience wheat shortages for the next several years. Besides the Ukraine/Russia issues, India has banned wheat exports to protect their own food supply, which will only exacerbate existing wheat shortages. 

Sugar Shortage

Brazil recently increased their domestic production of ethanol, which they produce from local sugarcane, which is likely to cause a global decrease in available sugar, leading to lower availability and higher prices not just for sugar, but also products made with sugar.

Canned Goods Shortages

In a blow to traditional food storage plans, a global aluminum shortage has continued, leading to increased prices for canned goods like canned vegetables and meats as well as soda. 

Pet Food

General supply chain issues across the board have led to reduced availability of canned cat and dog food across the country. And since this isn't isolated to a single issue, but a result of multiple supply chain problems, it's not likely to get better any time soon.

Many of us already have food stored but with more shortages popping up every year it’s never a bad idea to continue stocking food for this shortage and the future shortages that are bound to arise. These are just a couple of the common, direct shortages the US is already experiencing. We can expect many other products to join the rank of food shortages in 2022 and beyond.

What's Causing the Grocery Store Food Shortages?

While some items have specific causes, many of these current and upcoming food supply issues are driven by a combination of several unique market issues:

Continued COVID Concerns

While a lot of the fervor around COVID has died down, there's been a regular resurgence of new variants that are causing record infections. While some of these variants are actually less dangerous than the original COVID infections, gun-shy workers and employers are often cautious leading to increased absences and lower productivity all the way from food production, through transportation and into your local grocery store.

Trucking and Shipping

Trucking and shipping are in short supply, though the cause is under debate. But the result is that production materials and finished good are sitting on loading docks and shipping yards longer and not on grocery store shelves.

Labor Shortages

Across all industries, the US is seeing labor shortages not seen in decades. With a variety of contributing factors from COVID to low pay, many employers are struggling to fill all sort of labor roles. But the situation is most pronounced among lower paying jobs like farming, food production, and grocery stores, leading to delays all across the food chain.

Climate Change

Across the globe various locations have experience sever and unusual weather patterns this year. From droughts and heatwaves to floods and storms, severe weather has led to decreased production of staple crops like corn and soybeans, which will have ripple effects down through the supply chain.

 a pantry stocked for the 2022 food supply shortage

How To Prepare For The 2022 Grocery Shortage

Now that you know why and when the food shortages are coming it’s time to start preparing for these shortages. But how do you prepare for a food shortage? You stock up on some of the best survival food with the longest shelf life! We like to refer to the food with a long shelf life as your food stock.

Now there are two routes you can take when preparing your food stock. You can purchase canned foods and rice that have a long shelf life compared to other items on the shelves. 

This is a great entry level option into creating a food stock however it does come with a few problems. The first is that canned foods that are highly acidic such as tomatoes and fruits only have a shelf life of 12-18 months.

Lower acidic canned goods such as meats and vegetables last longer but still only have a shelf life of 2-5 years. Even rice, the staple in many preppers' food stock, only has a shelf life of only 6 months if unmilled.

These are still great food stock options if you are looking to save some money initially but you will have to spend more time and money restocking once food goes bad.

The second option for building a food stock is to buy an emergency food supply. We personally recommend this option, made of professionally dehydrated and freeze dried food, because it is the easiest way to get into prepping and takes the least amount of time to build a long lasting food supply with a 25 year shelf life.

valley food storage emergency food


We all also know some loved ones that just don’t plan for these sorts of things. Ordering a couple of 72 hour survival food kits for them ensures that they have at least a little bit of a buffer when things get hard. Then add them to your bug out bag checklist and you'll feel a little more secure.

Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables or dehydrated emergency food has a shelf life of 25 years and removes the need for yearly restocking as part of the survival rules. Not to mention, our survival food sample resembles your normal meals much closer to stocking beans and rice.

This is not just our opinion, our kids love freeze-dried food and we often have to stop them from stealing from our stock.