Grocery stores in Alberta continue to see more empty shelves as supply chain issues persist

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately and noticed some empty shelves, expect to see see more of that. Several large retail grocery stores in Alberta are reporting supply chain challenges, making it harder to find some of your favourite foods.

Supply chain problems are nothing new, but according to food supply expert Sylvain Charlebois, it’s gotten worse.

Read more: Some Edmonton businesses feeling impact of supply chain issues

“B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic as well all are seeing empty shelves,” said the Dalhousie University food distribution and policy professor.

In statement to Global News, Save-On Foods wrote: “Like many retailers, we are experiencing shortages on certain products. Some products are being temporarily affected by supply chain challenges and in some cases delays and product shortages may be reflective of broader issues, such as worker absenteeism in packaging and processing plants as a result of the pandemic.

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“We thank our customers for their patience as we continue to work very closely with our supplier and transportation partners to get these products back on our shelves just as quickly as possible.”

Charlebois said staff shortages, weather and COVID-19 vaccine mandates are all contributing factors.

“While Omicron was a gut punch to the food industry, vaccine mandates for truckers are robbing the food industry of the oxygen it desperately needs right now,” he said.

On Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney again said he is worried about the vaccine mandate for truckers.

“We can’t afford to lose potentially thousands of truckers on our roads brining groceries up from the U.S.,” he said.

Charlebois said the timing isn’t great. This is typically the time of year we import a lot of food from the U.S.

“As soon as you have a supply chain that is severely impacted by public health measures, it will slow things down and will obviously generate more waste and will cost more,” he said.

Charlebois said Albertans will likely notice more empty shelves at larger grocery stores rather than small ones because they purchase more local items.

Regardless, Charlebois said there’s no need for people to panic-buy.

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“You will find everything you need — you may not be able to find everything you want,” he said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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