Shortages and out of stock: what to expect for the coming months?

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Stock shortages follow one another, purchasing power drops and the future is uncertain. In this strange climate, it is difficult to know what to expect for the days, weeks and months to come.

Since the beginning of the year, the shortfall in stores linked to stockouts has reached 2.7 billion euros gross, reveals a NielsenIQ study carried out in September. It is a particularly substantial sum that reflects this uncertain period.

Some products have been particularly lacking in recent months and this has not escaped French consumers. Thus mustard or oil are often running out. However, the lack of sunflower oil does not come directly, as many might believe, from the war in Ukraine.

“The absence of oil on the shelves is explained above all by precautionary purchases. It was perceived as a shortage because the product had disappeared from the stores”, analyzes Myriam Qadi, researcher at the institute NielsenIQ, before continuing, “I myself saw someone buy 10 liters of oils and store them directly after the announcement of the war. “Indeed I cook a lot of sunflower oil but you will see the prices will increase” he told me.

For mustard, the situation is different because “we can really speak of a shortage”, estimates the expert. “We also had massive purchases, of course, even if they were less brutal than for the oil. But the stores only receive small quantities of this product”, she explains.

But is the mustard shortage destined to last forever?

Although we can still use the term shortage for the moment to refer to the mustard situation, a slight rebound in stock has still been observed lately. This is revealed by the NielsenIQ study which shows that during the month of August, the number of jars available on the shelves has increased. However, “the figures are still rising with difficulty and the surge only lasted a very short time”, analyzes Myriam Qadi.

But the hope of seeing this condiment return to our supermarkets remains. “Many countries have started growing mustard. Harvests will take place until May. But with the first flowers, the situation could theoretically change at the beginning of 2023 and it is possible to hope for production to return to normal the end of the year,” she explains.

But for other products that are regularly out of stock, when can we expect a return to normal?

The drought that has been raging all summer will probably not be without effects on the production of certain products such as cereals or wheat. However, it is still too early to make any predictions and we will have to wait until spring to be sure.

Likewise, as the expert explains, rising commodity and energy prices are not going to help matters. However, companies will adapt and we will be in a pattern that will be different from the one we had so far. “So, for the moment, there are no other shortages planned.”, reveals -she.

On the other hand, Myriam Qadi believes that this winter will be marked by many changes in the way of consuming. “Inflation will have the effect of changing the behavior of consumers. For example, first price products are more successful than before because, for example, the milk that is in a branded brick and the same as that which is in an entry-level brick. Similarly, supermarket customers are likely to decrease their consumption of meat and poultry due to rising prices,” she explains.