Things have looked a little different at grocery stores ever since March of 2020 when products such as frozen pizzas, canned goods, hand sanitizer, and, yes, toilet paper were flying off the shelves. Glancing around today, it’s clear that the supply chain has not yet fully recovered from that huge jolt. Our current challenges are all largely due to the same issue we faced two years ago: a disruptive virus continues to circulate globally and wreak havoc on the complex web of operations — from production to manufacturing to shipping and distribution — that are necessary to get food, toiletries, and other consumer goods to our local stores.
No retailer or business is immune to supply chain snarls these days. Grocers from Albertsons to Publix to Food Lion to Costco are all facing difficulties keeping certain items in stock. It’s enough of a challenge that my local Schnucks stores have posted signs essentially telling customers that if a shelf is empty, there’s not more stock in the back they can go fetch; they are simply out.
Our favorite grocer, Aldi, is no different. Aldi put out a notice to customers asking for their patience during the holiday shopping season, and even now Aldi tells its customers it’s sorry on its website for any current delays, stating: “We apologize, but due to shipping delays, some advertised ALDI Finds items may not be available for purchase.”
Supply chain troubles and shipping delays are not just affecting Aldi Finds in the famous middle aisle (which Aldi fans also fondly refer to as the Aisle of Shame). Shortages have also come for Aldi products we’re accustomed to being able to find all the time, any time of year.
What’s Missing From Aldi Shelves?
Here are just a few things we’ve personally seen temporarily run out of stock at Aldi during the past few months.
- Sour cream
- Ricotta cheese
- Saltine crackers
- Spaghetti noodles
- Canned cat food
- Blossom tampons
- String cheese
- Frozen breaded chicken of any kind (nuggets, tenders, etc.) except “red bag” chicken
- Refrigerated sausage links and ground sausage sold in rolls
- Refrigerated crescent rolls (out of stock at some of our local stores, with other stores only carrying name-brand Pillsbury)
- Frozen shredded hash browns (availability varies from store to store in our area)
- Frozen burritos
- Fresh garlic
- Apple juice
- Frozen Pancakes and sausages on a stick
- Various types of fresh meat
Why Are So Many Products Out of Stock?
Product shortages at retailers are a result of multiple reasons.
The number one cause is COVID, which continues to affect workers in production, manufacturing, shipping, and in stores. When workers are out sick and can’t make the food, or can’t transport the food to stores, or can’t put the food on store shelves, sporadic product outages will result. Conagra, which oversees brands such as Duncan Hines and Healthy Choice, reported in January of 2022 that they were seeing rising employee absences due to omicron and that it could strain operations for at least the next month.
Labor shortages are another potential reason behind product shortages in stores. It’s not just people who are out sick, but also people who have decided that working in food production or working as a grocery store cashier is not worth the low pay and stress especially during a pandemic, so they’ve found better jobs elsewhere in other industries.
Regarding the labor shortage, we also should not discount the potentially large number of people suffering from symptoms of long COVID, who may have been forced to quit work or reduce their hours because of chronic fatigue, brain fog, headaches, or other lingering health issues. One researcher estimates 1.6 million people are out of the full-time workforce because of long COVID.
Another cause of some bare shelves is the fact that we’re still in the midst of winter, and parts of the Northeast and Midwest have routinely been hammered by snowstorms that have sparked the typical runs on bread and milk. In addition, those storms have sometimes delayed truckers hauling shipments of products to stores. When bad weather and pandemic-related shipping challenges are combined, it can hit store shelves especially hard.
When Will Shelves be Stocked Again?
Most of the recent outages at my local Aldi stores have been temporary. If a product is out of stock one week, it might be back the next week, or in a few weeks at most. We went without a lot of frozen breaded chicken products for several weeks, but then almost all of those chicken products suddenly showed up again. One week I couldn’t find regular sour cream and could only get light sour cream. Ricotta cheese was missing for a couple of weeks but was in stock during my most recent Aldi run. String cheese is out of stock about 80% of the time at my local stores.
Because all of these shortages have been primarily driven by one factor — COVID — they will likely smooth themselves out once the pandemic settles into an endemic state with fewer large infection surges that affect employees working in production, shipping, and retail. Fortunately, most of the world is on the downward trend of the omicron spike and things are looking more positive for the time being and in the immediate future. So here’s to hoping you can find your Aldi chicken tenders, Saltine crackers, and canned cat food again soon.
speaking of missing items, my favorite Deutsche Kuche herring in curry or mango sauce seems to be AWOL now. actually most of the DK items are gone … maybe related to the shipping and port crisis? maybe Germany is hoarding canned food for the possible war in Ukraine? what a crazy world we live in.
The vast majority of Deutsche Kuche products are limited-time specials that only show up a couple of times a year.
Around here All of the usual Deutsche Kuche stuff is missing except the bratwurst. and absolutely none of the specials like strudel, frozen cakes, dopplekeks, or mustards either. I’m not going to starve to death but this is making me very sad since Deutsche Kuche is one of my favorite reasons for shopping at Aldi. I have 3 Aldis within driving distance and they’re all out. I doubt Aldi is dumping their house German brand, hopefully these items will reappear some day when the supply chain gets unhosed.
Definitely have seen this at our local ALDIs. We are fortunate to have three Aldi stores within a very short distance from our home. My daughter lives close to one and we vary our shopping trips between the three stores. We go through a lot of Saltine crackers, especially during soup season, so we were were sad when we realized this was one of the items missing from time to time! But found them our last trip!
Canned mushrooms! For months we’ve not had any canned mushrooms.
3 or 4 weeks ago I purchased chocolate whip cream. It whs great! It was the first and last time I ever saw it. Also I purchased Strawberry and coconut whip cream. The Strawberry was also good. The Chocolate was the best. Any chance ALDI can stock these, especially the chocolate whip cream on a regular basis?
You’d have to ask Aldi about the whipped cream. https://www.aldireviewer.com/contact-aldi/
Thanks. I just did contact Aldi.
I have been missing the shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheese mix. It tastes and melts so nicely.
Dunkers chocolate chip/lemon biscotti-style cookies have been missing for over eight months. 8 months.
Missing the heart to tail cat food 5.5 oz. Very sporadic supply.
Why don’t Aldi carry the Parkside polish sausage anymore? They carry other Parkside products. They were soooooo good
Has anyone noticed the hot pockets they used to have are gone? For like a year now?
I love the Medjool Dates, but can’t seem to get them anywhere, does anyone know if they are not stocking them anymore
We haven’t seen the Burman’s steak sauce in a long time, it’s the first thing my wife looks for everytime we go.
Dk canned herring is back for German week, but i had to hit 3 stores to buy 26 cans total. swiss rolls have been out of stock for 6 months now … looks like my comment in February about war in Ukraine was unfortunately correct. The resulting energy shortages in Germany might impact the German sourced products this winter. I’m thankful for what I can get, and wish for peace all around
Good Morning ~
I am hoping that my Aldi’s store has Willow facial tissues on the shelves again. They have been missing for quite some time now! 😔
Aldi’s has such great products and the shopping experience is wonderful! Thanks for all you do…
Facial tissue has been back on our local Aldi shelves for a while now after being out of stock for some time.
for awhile I was able to buy 3 ply toilet paper. I haven’t seen it for quite some time, not just at Aldi but other places as well. I hope they will return at some point.