Australian consumers are reporting a new shortage of everyday household items as supermarkets continue to struggle with long-standing problems with the global supply chain. Lentils and chickpeas have vanished from the canned food section at Woolworths stores, prompting the retail behemoths to attribute the disappearance to “supply chain delays.” Supermarkets are assuring customers that the tins should return to the shelves in as little as one week. However, according to a recent report, the conflict in Ukraine and severe weather have combined to cause a global chickpea shortage that could cause supplies to drop by as much as 20%.
A Woolworths spokesperson told news.com.au that due to supply chain delays, “we’re experiencing reduced availability across some of our lentil and chickpea products.”
“We’re coordinating with suppliers to maintain dependable stock deliveries to supermarkets on a regular basis. “Over the next week, customers should notice a greater availability of stock. “We urge everyone to carry on with their regular shopping routine and only purchase what they require.” One disgruntled customer complained about the product being “gone” from the shelves on social media, and another compared it to the 2020 toilet paper crisis. As a result of challenging weather and the conflict in Ukraine, the Global Pulse Confederation warned that chickpea shortage supplies could fall by as much as 20% this year.
According to the report, shipments of chickpeas from Russia, a major exporter responsible for about a quarter of global trade, have been halted as a result of EU sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine was unable to produce its usual crop of chickpeas, which prevented Europe from receiving about 50,000 tonnes of legume. Demand shifted to Australia, the largest exporter of chickpeas in the world, but our crops have been impacted by flooding, and we have found it difficult to keep up.
Extreme weather has also impacted farmers in the US, the fourth-largest exporter of chickpeas in the world, who have reduced their planting of chickpeas in favor of corn and wheat, according to EatingWell.com.
As a result, the price of canned chickpeas and hummus is already rising for Americans and Britons, and concerns are growing for India and the Middle East, where chickpeas are an important source of protein. Lentil supplies and crops have not been impacted by the same global problems; rather, the popular legume has been hampered by ongoing supply chain problems that have gotten worse as a result of the pandemic. Significant backlogs have resulted as a result, which has a direct impact on the stock levels on Australian supermarket shelves.
Although many people had anticipated the crisis to be over by now, one expert asserted that there won’t be a return to pre-Covid levels, and predicted port congestion won’t start to ease until 2023.
Tim Scharwath, global forwarding and freight CEO at logistics behemoth DHL, told Bloomberg last month that while the situation would ease in 2023, it would not return to 2019.
We won’t likely return to the overcapacity period when rates were extremely low, in my opinion. Because infrastructure developments take time, especially in the US, infrastructure won’t improve overnight.
Other basic grocery items that have been difficult to find in Australia in recent weeks include lettuce, tissues, and cold and flu medications.