Every time a major storm (or even a light snowfall, if you live in the deep South like I do) hits, I’ve noticed something interesting about how people react. I’m sure you have, too, and, if you haven’t noticed anything, you should stop and pay attention. There may come a time that your life will depend upon it. What have I noticed?
Simply this: every time the slightest “disaster” hits (and, of course, when a real disaster hits, too), people panic and completely clean out every grocery store within a matter of hours.
Think about that. Then realize that this is the case nationwide, that we live in a “just in time” inventory situation with our food supply. What does “just in time” mean when dealing with inventory? Investopedia.com describes it this way:
“An inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs.
“This method requires that producers are able to accurately forecast demand.”
Pay attention to that last part: “This method requires that producers are able to accurately forecast demand.” Requires that they can predict demand. An error in prediction means empty shelves and no sales.
Now, we can discuss why companies have moved towards this type of inventory management (mainly to avoid paying taxes on inventory and tying up their money in inventory until they need the goods to sell), but the scary point for you is this:
If this inventory management system requires accurate forecasting, and a SHTF situation, by definition, hits by surprise with little or no warning, how can these food suppliers ensure that enough food is available in an emergency?
The answer is: they can’t.
If you think that this is unrealistic panic on my part, consider this comment from January 24, 2016 from a guy going by “Steve” who has worked in inventory management for major retail companies that deal with food. He wrote about a recent trip to his local grocery store, Walmart, and Target, and said,
“As I shopped this week and looked at inventory levels I was shocked. There were numerous (above and beyond acceptable levels) out of stocks across category lines at all three retailers. And even where inventory was on the shelf, the overall levels were noticeably reduced. Based on my experience, working for two of these three organizations in store management, they have drastically/intentionally reduced their inventory levels. This is either due to financial stresses/poor sales effecting their ability to acquire new inventory, or it could be the result of what was mentioned earlier regarding the transporting of goods to these regional warehouses. Either way this doesn’t bode well for the what’s to come. Stock up now while you can!”
Another commenter, who claimed to have worked for 30 years in retail meats wrote,
“Each of the stores we were in were woefully under-stocked. This time of year-the few weeks following the holidays-is usually big business in groceries and low stock levels suggest either poor ordering at the store level, poor purchasing at the distribution level or a purposeful desire to be under-stocked.”
I think it is safe to say that my position is that you should get prepared and not rely on the major retail outlets as a dependable food source in a disaster situation. Even if you think I’m overboard with my concern, I think it’s reasonable to take some precautions in case you are unable to travel due to being snowed in or flooded in (I’ve seen it happen).
What precautions would you take to ensure your family’food supply when the SHTF? Tell us below.