Food Shortages in 2023: Don't Panic, Here's What You Can Do

by SouthernFrugalMomma

I wanted to discuss predictions on food shortages in 2023. I see so many articles and videos saying we need to expect shortages. I think it’s unintentional fear-mongering, so I want to talk about this.

Here are the shortages that are reported around the country all supposedly happening because of the Russia/Ukraine conflict:


Wheat products


Pet food





Orange juice

So, they want us to panic, they want us to put more strain on the supply chain.

Don’t! I know it’s kind of scary. Food insecurity freaks me out, too. But food insecurity can happen from many things, including lack of funds or shortages. I took this list above to my local Walmart, Ingles, Aldi, and Food City and explored the reality of this scarcity. Here’s what I found:

Chickpeas in a wooden bowl and wooden spoon

1. Chickpeas

I looked at the chickpea selection–all full–the dried and the canned! But if you eat a lot of chickpeas on your diet, then buy an extra bag or a can a week if you can and hold it aside.

Fresh wheat stalks lying next to a bowl of wheat grains

2. Wheat

Wheat products looked no different than they have in the past two years. There are some spots that are missing products, but are there tons of products missing that would make me think there’s a shortage?

No, not here, anyway. If you’re worried, just buy an extra product a week, and if it’s bread you’re buying, you can freeze it.

A slightly unravelled roll of aluminum

3. Aluminum

Let’s discuss aluminum. It’s used in canned food and for sodas, for example. Did I see a difference? I did not see any difference, but the regular is not that great.

What I mean by that is this: Pre-pandemic, the shelves were completely full. Now, they are not, but that’s normal now. There was one of every product, at least. But was it sparse? Yes. But it wasn’t any different than from the past two years.

In my opinion, do $5 pantry stock-ups once a week or every other week. But if there is a shortage of canned vegetables, you can still get frozen vegetables.

A bowl of pet food

4. Pet food

Now, let’s discuss pet food. I have seen a really big shortage in that category. I don’t have any dogs or cats, but I have noticed the lack of products, but it’s been like this for a good year or year or two where it’s just hit or miss.

Some weeks they won’t have a single bag on the shelf and then the other weeks, it’s never full, but half full. In my opinion, just buy an extra can or bag when you see it if you’re nervous about it.

Tins of baby formula on empty store shelves

5. Formula

There was a really big formula shortage a few months back. The shelves were completely bare for weeks and mothers were panicking, rightfully so.

Not every woman can produce any or enough milk for various reasons and not every baby can digest breast milk so formula is very important.

In my area, it’s a hit or miss though there are some spots where there’s not a lot of formula on the shelves. I’d say the shelves are about 60 percent full of formula. Talk to your pediatrician for their suggestions.

Food shortage coming soon 2023

6. Mayonnaise

According to my research, mayonnaise production costs have risen 18.2 percent because of egg costs, bird flu, and egg-producing facilities that have been destroyed in fires. So mayonnaise is going up in price and there’s supposed to be a shortage.

We have to wait and see. This isn’t a serious problem. But if you can’t live without mayonnaise, buy a vegetarian type of mayonnaise, like Just Mayo or Vegenaise, both are egg substitute mayonnaise-type products.

My family is picky about their mayonnaise and honestly, they couldn’t tell the difference for a while between real mayonnaise and plant-based mayonnaise until I told them, and now they love it and don’t mind.

Fresh green lettuce

7. Lettuce

Yes, there seems to be a shortage there. Sometimes I go to the store and there’s zilch. But again, it’s hit or miss at each store. There is some lettuce, but not a lot, and it’s been like this for the past two years.

Fresh cut of beef

8. Beef

Our beef selection is full, so I’m not seeing any problems here, at least in east Tennessee where I live. Every section was full. No empty spots at all.

I wouldn’t worry at all about beef. You can also do with less beef if there is a shortage. Or, find friends and go in on a cow and divide up the meat. The cost will be so low since you’re splitting it. 

Glass of orange juice behind an orange cut in half

9. Orange juice

Our orange juice selection is full. It hasn’t been hit yet, but Hurricane Ian destroyed a lot of crops in Florida, which made production go down 51 percent, which is the lowest output of production since the 1930s. If you’re worried, stock up on a few frozen cans of orange juice.

Wooden farmer's market crate with fresh produce next to it

My opinion and suggestions on the food shortages

What do I think, personally, about all of this? Do not worry about a single thing, honestly. The main concern that I would have is the formula. Babies need it and there are not many substitutions for that.

Everything on this list is in the stores. That doesn’t mean there won’t be shortages in the coming months. That’s how shortages work. It’s almost like a Slinky effect–we’re good, we’re good, then the chain contracts and it catches up with us, then we are hit with an empty shelf.

But humans have persevered throughout history–through wars and depressions when there was a lack of everything–and this is something we can all get through. It may be tough when we’re in it, but we’ll come out stronger and more knowledgeable.

Produce alternatives

Try finding a local farmer, farmer’s market, or a produce stand on the side of the road. You can blanch and freeze extra produce so it doesn’t go to waste.

Or, learn canning to can your own foods–but you’ll need a pressure canner to do that. If you do tomatoes or pickles, you can use a water bath canner.

Raised garden bed with vegetables

Grow a garden

If you have space to grow a garden, you should do that this spring and summer. It’s very easy and if I can do it, anyone can!

If you live in an apartment and don’t have access to a patch of land for a garden, then I will let you in on a secret: lettuce is the easiest thing to grow. Just sprinkle the seeds over the dirt and rub your hand over it, water it, and it’ll grow!

Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow lettuce. Get a planter, sit it by a window, on a sill, or on your balcony, plant the seeds, water, and you will have lettuce in two to three weeks.

I’m going to grow more lettuce this year. 

Articles about shortages

Food shortages in 2023

What does it look like in stores in your area? I’m curious. Are some of the shelves sparse or empty? Do you think there will be a food shortage in 2023? Please weigh in on this discussion in the comments.


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 1 comment
  • Karyn Karyn on Apr 23, 2023

    I totally agree! Articles like those printed about the food shortages are scaring people into panic buying which in and of itself cause shortages.

    We had that here in Florida with gasoline! It is getting better but still going on.

    There was enough gasoline for everyone but someone from the Newspaper started writing that there wasn't enough and motorists started panic buying and what did it do? It created a shortage!!!!

    So, please, we all know there will be a shortage of this or that. We have been told this since the pandemic when people started hoarding toilet paper and paper towels as well as cleaning supplies.

    In my opinion, some shortages are man made.