Arkansas grocery stores are feeling the impact of the omicron variant

Staffing isn’t the only concern, as local grocery stores are feeling the impact of supply chain issues again, this time due to the omicron variant.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The omicron variant continues to spread rapidly among the Arkansains, as do the problems it creates.

“So we’re also seeing about 50% employee absenteeism throughout the supply chain,” said Dr. Doug Voss, professor of supply chain management at the University of Central Arkansas.

Grocery stores again have fewer staff and fewer items on the shelves, Voss says.

“Employers don’t have employees there to serve these customers, which frequently leads to stockouts on store shelves,” Voss said.

This problem affects you, the customer.

Voss said that with more employees, that means fewer of your favorite items will be available in the store.

“They [customers] have certain expectations and certain product needs that they must have for themselves and their families, ”said Voss.

Steve Goode, of the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchant Association, said items like meat and produce are in good condition.

But unfortunately, dry foods like ramen noodles are now hard to come by.

“Pasta is a very difficult thing to get right now if you go to your local supermarket as a grade and then frozen food,” Goode said.

According to Goode, this is happening because food manufacturers face the challenge of getting these items to local stores.

“It’s personnel issues at the manufacturer level that are causing these problems. Consumers are going to see a lot of items that they no longer have,” Goode said.

The good news in this thought is that nothing lasts forever.

Health experts believe omicron cases may peak soon.

If that happens, Voss believes people can expect stores to resume pre-omicron operations.

“I think the current shortage situation will be resolved within a month or two,” Voss said.

He also believes it will have a short-term impact on the Arkansas economy, as some prices will continue to stay higher than normal even after they return to the shelves.

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