(AP)- Shortages at U.S. grocery stores have grown more acute in recent weeks. New problems like the fast-spreading omicron variant and severe weather are piling on to the supply chain struggles and labor shortages that have plagued retailers since the coronavirus pandemic began. The shortages are widespread, impacting produce and meat as well as packaged goods like cereal. And they’re being reported nationwide. U.S. groceries typically have 5% to 10% of their items out of stock at any given time. According to the Consumer Brands Association, the unavailability rate is hovering around 15%. Experts are divided on how long grocery shopping will sometimes feel like a scavenger hunt.
Photo: FILE – In this Friday, March 13, 2020 file photo, shoppers browse empty shelves at a supermarket in Larchmont, N.Y, amid panic-buying due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)