The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues have impacted a number of food products, merchandise items, and more, and it seems like that won’t be going away anytime soon.
We’ve seen supply chain problems and ingredient shortages affect runDisney, shut down a whole store in one park, and even impact popular items like chicken tenders. But now some more items might be in danger.
What’s going on?
Back in 2021, we took a look at the ketchup CRISIS that was being experienced at the time. Even Disney World got hit with a bit of a ketchup issue, and other brands started to take the place of Heinz at various restaurants. That issue eventually was pretty much resolved, but things could be changing soon.
According to CNN, the CEO of Kraft Heinz, Miguel Patricio, has said that high inflation levels and supply chain issues (which have impacted businesses for months) are continuing to impact the food industry and he doesn’t expect the issue to end anytime soon. On top of COVID-19 impacts, shortages of raw materials, and inflation, things like the war in Ukraine and climate change have added a greater level of uncertainty.
One result of these issues? Get ready for price INCREASES. Patricio shared, “We’ve already increased the prices that we were expecting this year, but I’m predicting that next year, inflation will continue, and as a consequence [we] will have other rounds of price increases.”
According to Patricio, Heinz has tried to minimize the impact of inflation. Though it would be easy to pass on the cost to consumers, he warned that that “has consequences.” So what have they tried to do to try and keep costs low for the consumer? Patricio noted that they’re looking at ways to be more efficient in their factories and more careful about their procurement costs.
They’ve also worked on selling items in different packaging, which can provide different pricing options for consumers. For example, you might find bulk, value packs of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or a greater variety of ketchup bottle sizes.
But things might get more complicated in the future. Patricio warned, “Every day we have a new problem. It’s the new normal.” What was once thought to be a “crisis” is just the standard now.
On the climate side, there has been a 3-year drought that has led to a shortage of tomatoes. Patricio said, “Every day there’s a shortage of something…It doesn’t help [that] with the global warming that the crops have not been good. So there’s lack of tomatoes in the world, there’s lack of potatoes in the world, there’s lack of beans in the world.”
Heinz anticipated the tomato problem, however, and bought them in advance, so you can still expect to see Heinz on your shelves.
What could all of this mean for you?
Well, for starters, it looks like Heinz is working hard to keep its items on the shelves. But you’ll want to watch out for potential price increases in the future. We anticipate that Heinz won’t be the only company facing these problems, so you’ll want to watch for price increases on various items across multiple brands that might be impacted by shortages of certain ingredients.
You’ll also want to look and see if there are different package options or bottle sizes of the items you know and love. Value sizes or different bottle sizes could help you still get some of the items you love while getting a better bang for your buck.
Outside of the grocery store, if supply chain issues persist and/or prices increase, we could see other brands introduced in certain places. If, for example, Disney determines that the pricing of a certain ketchup brand is no longer what they want to pay, we could see alternative brands introduced into the parks, just as we did back in 2021.
It’s something Christine McCarthy (Disney’s CFO) warned about previously. In 2022, McCarthy noted that Disney was looking at mitigating the impacts of inflation and rising costs. She said that the company was working to potentially diversify some of their suppliers, or work with shippers to expedite the time that they are shipping things to the parks. So if diversification of suppliers becomes necessary, some of the brands you’re used to seeing in the parks could change — that’s just something to be prepared for!
Price increases could also make their way into more food items to make up for increased costs. We’ve already seen hundreds of price increases in Disney World on food items, but if the supply issues persist, that could continue.
At the moment, we haven’t really seen any critical changes made in terms of the usual suppliers, but we’ll keep an eye out for updates. We have seen a cup shortage affect one spot in EPCOT though, so there are constantly new challenges. Stay tuned for the latest information.
Click here to see what Disney executives have had to say about inflation and its impact on the parks
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What price increases or shortages have you noticed at your local stores? Tell us in the comments.