Robots, cameras… 5 supermarket strategies to deal with shortages


Mustard, sunflower oil, crisps… This year, shortages have multiplied and have reached many shelves in our supermarkets. Thus consumers have adapted their behavior, changed their way of consuming, to deal with these stock shortages which could sometimes last for days or even weeks in rare cases.

Before the crisis caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or even weather events, product shortage rates were generally around 2%. Today it is between 10% and 12%, said Dominique Schelcher, CEO of System U, with the Journal du Dimanche.

“At Système U, we have still not returned to the usual rate of food supply prior to the health crisis. At the end of last year, the first tensions on raw materials were felt, linked to a very strong economic recovery – before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, signs of inflation were already perceptible”, he explains to our colleagues.

But other shortages could still arise in the coming months. Due to the energy crisis, some producers or farmers will have to make choices, swapping poultry for cereals, for example. “Hence an increased risk of greater dependence on imports. In a few weeks or a few months, usual products may be lacking on the shelves,” said Dominique Schelcher at JDD.

Thus, to deal with and anticipate these situations, supermarkets have implemented various strategies that allow them to reduce the risk of stockouts. Here are which ones.