Supply and demand?

Grocery stores and markets look different today compared to three months ago. Or even two months ago! In a past Minute we highlighted the example of toilet paper.  The supply was constant; but Americans shifted the demand. Consequently, we saw bare shelves.

While the TP and paper towel aisle looks better stocked now, we must buy much bigger quantities. It obviously made economic sense for manufacturers to sell bigger packages.

But what’s going on in the rest of the store? In the news we see milk being discarded, crops being plowed under and young animals being “depopulated, culled or euthanized” – whatever the term, this waste is disheartening to say the least. Food banks are stretched. It isn’t logical. We do have supply and we do have demand.

Prior to the pandemic and its lockdown sequela, 50 percent of our meals were eaten from restaurants; today, it’s a fraction. You wonder why the farmer/rancher can’t just shift supply over to retail outlets; but, the supply chain system was so efficient and finely tuned that the food industry calculated and produced and supplied the precise amount to meet the demand.

But instead of eating our chicken nuggets at a restaurant we want real chicken at home and the system wasn’t prepared. Instead of a factory crafting powdered cheese for snack foods, we wanted real cheese at the store. Plants were not tooled to make the shift. Requirements for packaging and labeling was just the beginning of the challenge. Food processors are savvy and innovative and will figure out this challenge but it will take a bit of time.

While it’s yet to be seen if our food buying will change again post-pandemic, we’d be wise to remember that “processed” food from a nutritional standpoint is not our best friend.

So, let’s have a bit of patience now, plan ahead to minimize our waste at home and remember minimally processed food is important to be well,


PS From Minute readers, people ARE keeping to their healthy habits by using a shopping service and NOT adding snack items. Another commenter suggested that few outside commitments (lessons and sports) allowed time to plan and fix real meals. OK, and some smarty lost weight during these weeks!!!



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