11 Things That Stores Are Still Struggling to Keep on the Shelves

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After years of disruption, broken supply chains appear to be on the mend. However, the future of fragile global supply chains complicated by climate change and labor shortages promises continued consumer chaos.

As supply chain issues continue, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to stay one step ahead of empty shelves and higher price tags.

Why Supply Chain Problems Persist

Periodic shortages of popular goods are not unprecedented, but supply disruptions may be a long-term problem for global trade.

Multiple supply chain issues — such as problems at production facilities, already fragile global supply chains, production capacity, climate change, and labor and truck driver shortages — have converged to create the perfect consumer storm. And while we’re unlikely to see empty shelves, the supply chain crisis isn’t over.

Unfortunately, it may take years rather than months to resolve shortages completely, particularly in the semiconductor industry, where the production of cars, smartphones, computers and cameras has been affected.

We can’t always predict when some products will be back in stock, but you can shop (or order) now for some items and avoid surges in demand later.

Here are some products expected to be affected by supply chain shortages, labor shortages and heavy consumer demand over the next several months.


  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Sunflower and other oils
  • Tomato products
  • Milk
  • Sriracha
  • Sugar

Household and Personal Care Items

  • Prescription medications
  • Canning supplies


  • Electric vehicles
  • Computers and smartphones

11 Things You Should Stock Up On Now to Avoid Shortages

But first, don’t give in to the temptation of panic buying. Artificial demand can create supply chain disruption — think the great toilet paper shortage of 2020.

Picking up a few extra items or buying early is a smart way to stock up, though, without emptying store shelves for other shoppers.

7 Foods Affected by Supply Chain Shortages

These food staples are in short supply, so stock up your cart now with shelf-stable products on sale.

1. Wheat

Amid news Russia would no longer honor a wartime grain deal that kept supplies moving out of the conflict zone in Ukraine, wheat and corn prices rose and concerns of shortages are growing.

A global grain shortage would impact not only supplies of bread and flour, but also convenience foods like pasta, crackers, and more.

Worried about having enough flour or sugar on hand? Keep our list of baking substitutions handy and avoid both empty shelves and higher prices.

2. Corn

Ukraine is also a major supplier of corn, and while dire shortages aren’t expected, there may be some delays and hiccups in keeping a steady global supply as Russia continues to disrupt shipments.

Corn takes center stage in many processed foods in America because it’s relatively cheap and easy to grow so stock up on corn-based cereals, tortillas and more.

3. Sunflower and Other Oils

Alongside grain and corn, Ukraine also supplies much of the world’s sunflower oil. Many food manufacturers have sought out alternatives, causing demand to rise for other oils like soybean and palm oil, which have been affected by drought.

4. Tomato Products

Due to extreme drought, California is struggling to keep the tomato crop from going under this year. Global supplies are even under stress in India, where the tomato is a centerpiece of regional cuisine. That means higher prices for everything tomato, including staples like salsa, marinara sauce and even ketchup (gasp!).

Toss a few extra bottles of anything tomato into your cart in the coming weeks to see some savings later.

5. Milk

Farmers warn that the same labor and supply issues that impacted eggs could mean milk shortages in the coming months.

In the meantime, vegan dairy substitutes and milk alternatives are coming in handy. Consider shopping a few at the store to see how they stack up to traditional dairy standbys like milk, yogurt and cheese.

6. Sriracha

After a meager chile pepper crop from Thailand last year, everyone’s favorite Sriracha sauce has been in short supply. The good news is that Sriracha alternatives abound if you’re willing to experiment.

Don’t hesitate to stock up if you’re absolutely loyal to Huy Fong’s Sriracha sauce. According to Insider, if you stash it in the fridge, the sauce stays fresh for up to two years after opening.

7. Sugar

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the news of a possible sugar shortage might leave a sour taste in your mouth.

The sugar shortage started in the Philippines with a lower-than-expected output in 2022, complicated by traders hoarding to manipulate the market. Now, the Dominican Republic has also sounded the alarm and India and Brazil, two of the world’s biggest sugar suppliers, are restricting sugar exports to ensure domestic supply.

An app called Upside can help you save money every time you dine out or buy groceries — an average of 17% at restaurants. Download the Upside app and create a free account.

Personal and Household Products You Should Stock Up On

Because these necessities are ones most can’t do without, stocking extra boxes to avoid shortages is a smart idea.

8. Prescription Medications

Perhaps most concerning of all are current shortages of common prescription medications such as antibiotics, antivirals and even ADHD medications, which are largely driven by increased demand. And while you can’t always stock up on meds, you can keep a closer eye on your pill supply and allow extra time for refills at the pharmacy.

Save money on prescriptions with an Amazon Prime membership.

9. Canning Supplies

Socking away enough food to outlive the next apocalypse is an old pastime that’s brand new again thanks to the pandemic. If you’re trying to join the gardening and canning renaissance, you may find locating canning lid jars and other supplies a barrier to entry.

In further proof that everything old is new again, canning jar lids were also in short supply in 1975 as the nation faced an explosion of home gardeners.

Other Products Affected by Supply Chain Shortages

 10. Electric Vehicles

EVs are the talk of the town, but electric vehicle manufacturers might struggle to go mainstream due to supply chain problems. GM even had to shut down a plant recently due to shortages of essential materials for production. The issue is specifically global stress on supplies of graphite, nickel and other minerals needed for lithium batteries.

Want an electric vehicle that goes the distance? See our recommendations for the most affordable electric vehicles.

11. Computers and Smartphones

The U.S. has made progress building redundancy into semiconductor supply chains, but it will take time for new manufacturers to boost market supplies. In the meantime, semiconductor shortages affect everything with a computer chip, from smartphones to airplanes.

The latest victim of chip shortages? Credit cards. If yours is close to the expiration date, give the bank a nudge to make sure the replacement is in the mail.

Other Shortages That May Impact Critical Supplies in 2023 and Beyond

While you can’t exactly stock up on labor, it’s important to know that labor shortages and strikes will impact a wide variety of industries and make themselves felt in consumers’ daily lives this year. From TV networks and streaming services to shipping and trucking companies, everyone will feel the pinch.

There’s also a concerning and crucial drug shortage in the U.S. that continues to affect supplies for hospitals, cancer treatments and more.

Want to make sure your prescription arrives at your door on time? See our recommendations for online pharmacies that deliver on cost.

Buy Now, Save Later

Shortages aren’t always predictable, but anticipating supply chain disruptions can help shoppers get ahead of empty shelves. And if you have the space and funds to stock up now, those savings can really add up later.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. thepennyhoarder.com utilizes paid Amazon links.Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Kaz Weida is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering saving money and budgeting. As a journalist, she has written about a wide array of topics including finance, health, politics, education, and technology for the last decade.