Milk, chicken, beer, honey… the crisis threatens to sow the supermarket shelves with ‘ghost products’

Milk, chicken, beer, honey... the crisis threatens to sow the supermarket shelves with 'ghost products'

First it was the pandemic, then the transport strike, then the war in Ukraine, and now the energy crisis. One after another, these scenarios have been compromising the supply of supermarkets and department stores and have reached empty some linear productssuch as toilet paper, milk, pasta or flour. On occasion, when items have continued to fill the shelves, they have done so with skyrocketing prices. Currently, some sectors warn of the possibility that the genre will be scarce in the coming months because of the high costs they face.

With an inflation of 10.4% in August, the price of gas through the roof and the cost of electricity with a sustained rise for almost a year and a half, the producers of certain articles are considering put an end to its activity – at least temporarily – due to the inability to meet the expenses. This brake, they warn, would mean a decrease in the availability of the genre and even a shortage in some cases. This situation occurs while consumers make real efforts to fill the shopping cart, and some distributors advertise a basic basket at 30 euros.

One of the items most affected by this situation is the milkthat already succumbed to the carrier strike in March. This time, in July alone, 124 farms have been forced to close due to the drop in production due to the exceptional heat waves this summer and the rise in costs, explains David Frontela, spokesman for the main dairy association in Spain. (agaprol). In this sense, he points out that the expenses for electricity in the sector have increased “by 440% in the last year”which are added to a rise in feed of around 20%, according to estimates by the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA).


Shopping basket of 30 products for 30 euros.

We will not be able to continue producing. It is easier to close than to continue putting money. It is also not possible to bring milk from abroad because, in exporting countries, a liter is 20 cents more expensive. Sometimes they propose vegetable ‘milks’ as an alternative, I no longer go into the fact that they call them that, but they are even more expensive,” he despairs.

These problems to assume the increase in costs have led some farmers to allocate their goods to butter, powdered milk and industrial items. in the international marketbecause they are more valued, emphasizes Román Santalla, head of the sector at UPA. Others, suffocated by bills, have chosen to allocate cows that do not produce enough and are not profitable to the meat industrywhich receives them eagerly in the face of a 30% increase in demand, according to Frontela.

“The worst thing is not going to be that the price rises, but that there is not. And, when that happens, the one that can be organized is very fat”

All these circumstances have caused there is already a shortage of milkaccording to Santalla, who adds that in the goat sector the situation is equally “dramatic”. “The main affected is the rancher, but the pagan is the consumer. The worst thing is not going to be that the price rises, but that there is not. And, when the client finds a photo on a supermarket shelf saying that there are no cartons , the one that can be organized is very fatFrontella warns.

The chicken, threatened

Another item threatened by this increase in costs assumed by producers is chicken. In August, poultry farmers spent almost twice as much on liquefied petroleum gas, which is necessary on their farms, than in other years, explains the head of the sector at the Coordination of Farmers and Ranchers Organizations (COAG), Eloy Ureña. “I paid 2,400 euros for electricity last month, almost two and a half times more than usual. The combination of both things is unaffordable “, she details.


Santalla, in your poultry farm

This increase in expenses and the fear that the price of gas will rise even more in the coming months, when it will be needed to heat the installations, have led producers to consider stop breeding from Novemberremark. “The sector is destroyed, I have never seen it like now. We have always come out ahead, but this time… There are farmers who are considering the option of close at least for a whileand those who have two warehouses value using only the one with the best energy efficiency,” he deepens.

“Some have already decided to close. As for the supply of chickens, there will probably not be a shortage, but there will be a shortage. In fact, there already is”

It is not just a possibility, but a reality, according to Santalla. “Some have already decided to close and, for those who have focused their lives on birds, it is a very hard decision. As for the supply of chickens, there will probably not be a shortage, but there will be a shortage. In fact, there already is.“, he affirms, while regretting that the rise in prices experienced by the genus has not translated into benefits for farmers.

Beer and carbonated drinks

In addition to the havoc that the crisis can generate on supermarket shelves, it is possible that the shortage will also spoil the party in bars and restaurants, since another of the products in danger is beer. Lack of supply of carbon dioxide (CO2)essential for carbonated drinks and generated in fertilizer factories, it has already put some countries in check and is beginning to be noticed in Spain.


photographer: Jose Gonzalez [[[PREVISIONES 20M]]]subject: Reported beer shortage in the fall

Soaring natural gas prices have prompted several large fertilizer plants in the UK, Poland and Norway to halt or cut production in August, which has hit the brewing industry. In fact, Carlsberg Polska anticipated that it planned to completely stop manufacturing. In Spain, this problem “will end up arriving, logically”, in the opinion of the professor at the OBS Business School, Eduardo Irastorza, who foresees an increase in the price of carbonated drinks.

“There are two options, either to limit its production or to raise the price, and both have an impact on the sales figures and on the market”

“There are two options, or limit their production or raise the priceand both have an impact on sales figures and on the market”, he affirms, and warns that the consequences of this situation will begin to be felt in the autumn. For its part, the Brewers of Spain employers’ association calls for calm and assures that in Spain does not foresee a CO2 supply problem, although sources from one of the largest producers of this drink at the national level indicate that there is already a lack of Values.

Honey and its jars

Another of the articles to which the crisis has embittered the campaign is Honeyvictim of the shortage indirectly due to the shortage of glass jars in which to pack it. The beekeepers of the Eume region, in A Coruña, know it well. This season, they have found their hives full, but without the possibility of selling their goods, because the factories that supplied them with the boats have stopped producing them. due to the high cost of energy.


Works to obtain honey from the honeycombs.

Initially the break was going to last until September. However, the situation does not improve and the slowdown is extended, at least, until Decembersays Isabel, a technician at Casa do Mel, the As Pontes association that brings together amateur and professional beekeepers. This will foreseeably force them to resort to other suppliers, with which they will have to create new labels and boxes since the current ones are no longer suitable, adapted to the size of the jars they used to use previously.

Added to these difficulties with packaging is the rising cost of the energy required to bring the product from the hives to the market. Both factors will result in an increase in the price of honey from between 50 cents and one euro per kilo. Resigned, Isabel opts for the latter option: “It’s not just the packaging, we have to add a new type of label and box, electricity to process the honey and gasoline to distribute.”

“It’s not just the packaging, we have to add a new type of label and box, light to process honey and gasoline to distribute”

To deal with this situation, sectors such as the countryside demand measures that allow them to continue with the business that feeds them and not have to work at a loss“Just as the food chain law approved by the Government pursues” last year, asks Santalla. Meanwhile, they continue to balance while waiting for new measures or an unlikely turn in the global situation.