When it comes to grocery store shortages, we are not out of the woods yet. Economic, environmental and even political factors have made it difficult to access many food and household essentials this year, and while consumers may find what they are looking for, a major sticker shock is sure to follow.

Many of these items continue to be hits – and a spooky surprise is also on the horizon with an expected Halloween candy shortage. But for a few products, while supplies continue to be tight, they are simultaneously experiencing an overall drop in demand month-to-month, according to new data from global e-commerce accelerator Pattern. The Pattern team analyzed online consumer demand based on Amazon’s activity throughout 2021 and 2022 so far and found significant declines related to the following three hard-to-find grocery items.

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Baby formula

The infant formula shortage saga began in the spring when the out-of-stock rate of infant formula began to rise significantly, eventually reaching a staggering 73% by the end of May. Supply chain issues and a major Abbott Nutrition recall were at the heart of the problem, and families across the country were forced to drive long hours or pay full price to get their hands on the products they needed. need.

While it’s not over yet, the shortage has shown signs of abating, and Pattern’s analysis confirms that baby formula is also becoming less sought after online. Company data shows demand for infant formula in May was up more than 2,000% year-over-year. By contrast, that number has fallen to just 121% so far in August.

Abbott facilities are operational again. And at the start of this week, 25% more infant formula was available nationwide compared to the low point in May, according to reports from Datasembly.



Tampon supplies have also been a hot topic this year. Many women started noticing a dwindling stock of popular tampon brands in early 2022, however, the shortage didn’t start making national headlines until June. This is also when demand for feminine hygiene products increased 426% from June 2021, according to Pattern.

The factors behind the shortage, including the lack of access to raw materials due to both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have not completely disappeared. However, demand has certainly increased, from a 426% year-over-year increase in June, to just 52% in July, and now 35% so far in August.

Manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, the maker of the Tampax brand, reportedly worked for months to ramp up tampon production. The company also assured customers that the shortage was a “temporary situation” in a statement to Good Housekeeping back in June. However, it is still unclear when supplies will return to normal levels.

Sriracha sauce

The summer of 2022 has been rather mild due to a low supply of Sriracha sauce. And for this one, another factor is largely to blame. The maker of the beloved condiment Huy Fong Foods announced in April that extreme weather conditions were negatively affecting the yield and quality of chilies used in its Chili Garlic, Sambal Oelek and Sriracha Hot Chili sauces.

As such, the company said any orders placed on or after April 19 would not be received until September, after Labor Day. This contributed to demand inflation, reaching 649% year-on-year growth in June. August, however, only saw a 216% year-over-year increase.

Megan Hageman

Megan is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Read more

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