Shortage of readers in some NoVA grocery stores


ALEXANDRIA, VA — Item shortages weren’t just a temporary aftershock from last week’s storm in Northern Virginia. As supply chain issues and labor shortages persist, shoppers are having trouble locating specific items in some stores.

Grocery stores in the US have low supplies of some items due to a combination of factors. Labor shortages due to COVID-19 infections are affecting all types of jobs including grocers, food manufacturing workers and truck drivers. In addition, the winter storm in the past week has led to delivery delays in some branches.

We asked patch readers in communities across Northern Virginia to share hard-to-find items. Alexandria reader Ann Shack noted that stores like Trader Joe’s and Giant were experiencing delays in their truck deliveries. Shack has been seeing shortages for over two weeks, particularly in dairy products like cream cheese, as well as many beef products.

ALSO SEE: US Grocery Store Shelves Are Empty. Here’s what’s behind it.

Reader Rebecca Lee made the same observation at Trader Joe’s in Centreville. She snapped photos showing nearly empty grocery and meat shelves on Sunday. She attributed the low supply to Trader Joe’s truck shipments being stuck due to a snow storm in Pennsylvania.

Trader Joe’s in Centerville on Sunday. (Courtesy of Rebecca Lee)

Other readers shared photos showing nearly empty grocery store shelves. Reader Deanne Light shared photos at the Wegmans in Fairfax that showed some types of produce that were gone, and Light noted that bread and meats were also low.

A photo shared in the Harris Teeter in Tysons showed a bread aisle that was depleted but not completely empty. Another user reported on Wednesday “many empty shelves” at Giant on Broad Street in Falls Church and Harris Teeter on Avenir Place in Vienna.

In some cases, it can be difficult to find certain products in multiple stores. Reader Amelie Krikorian said cream cheese and ricotta cheese have been hard to find for months.

Krikorian said the Oakton Giant ran out of nearly all of its produce last week, the meat department only had vacuum-sealed produce and the milk crate was empty. After going to the Vienna Giant, almost the same things were missing.

“It reminded me of Snowmageddon and the early months of Covid,” Krikorian wrote.

Depending on when shoppers go to a store, it may be better stocked. Susan Goewey observed “tons and tons of food in every aisle” at the Vienna Giant on Wednesday. She has had trouble finding specific types of items to get for her son, who has autism, eats gluten free and eats organic foods whenever possible.

“I was glad to see the giant was well stocked…Milk was a little short, but it was available,” Goewey wrote.

It’s not just human products that can be hard to find. Several users reported difficulties in finding cat food. Reader Bernard Gilbert said the Aldi on Kenmore Avenue in Alexandria had a good supply of most products but was out of cat food. Another user replied that prescription cat food is available from the vet.

It’s worth noting that shortages may not affect all stores, especially after they’ve just received shipments. For example, this week I visited several stores in the town of Falls Church. On Wednesday, Aldi and Harris Teeter’s Falls Church stores appeared well stocked, including items that tend to run out, such as eggs and milk. When I visited Giant Food on Broad Street on Sunday, lots of produce was in stock but the eggs were gone and some produce was in short supply. I have everything on my shopping list except eggs.

A well stocked dairy section at Harris Teeter in Falls Church on Wednesday. (Emily Leayman/Patch)

While experts are divided on how long inventory concerns will last, one reader has some advice for those struggling to find everything on their shopping list.

Here’s what McLean reader Mark Hanson has to say:

It’s a good time to go through the cupboards and freezer to pull out those forgotten items that are about to expire. Consume them and it’s like finding money in the pocket of an old coat. Be a little creative and consume rice, pasta, ramen, etc. with tuna, soup, frozen vegetables, meat, etc., but also consume the packaged meals and things that don’t keep well. It might not be exactly what you were hoping for, but using what you already have will ultimately help alleviate parts of the shortage, and when supplies come back you can stock up on the closet with things that don’t expire soon. If you don’t know what’s in the back of the closet, pantry, pantry, or freezer, now would be a good time to find out and clear it out.


Comments are closed.