Reddit Is Noticing A Major Chicken Shortage At Walmart

Pandemic-era grocery store shortages are nothing new. In the beginning, there was the infamous toilet paper shortage due to panic hoarding. Understandably, hand sanitizer and disinfectants became scarce for similar reasons. Then came the less likely contenders: canned corn, Oreos, and even yeast became hot commodities. Meat shortages started happening, too, as a May 2021 Food & Wine article reported. A Michigan State University assistant professor of agricultural, food, and resource economics, Trey Malone, told the outlet there were "massive shutdowns of the supply chain for meat." In the same month, Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, noted there was a "very tight supply" of chicken available (via USA Today), and in December Eat This, Not That! wrote about the shortage of chicken tenders, much to the dismay of picky children everywhere.

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic we've far from recovered when it comes to food shortages and supply chain issues, and once again, chicken has come to the forefront of the news. At the beginning of this month, The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report spoke with Vicki Minor, the owner of Ms. Vicki's Southern Kitchen, who said the price for a case of chicken wings had soared from $36 to $80. Social media users are also noting the short supply of chicken, such as one Reddit user, presumably a Walmart employee, who just took to the platform to post a pic of a customer buying the store out of chicken breasts.

What's up with the chicken shortage?

Reddit user Hipsteresque started a thread with a pic of a checkout lane at the store with a conveyor belt filled with packaged chicken breasts. "My man bought all the chicken breast in the store..." they captioned the photo. Fellow Redditors took to the comments to ponder why this Walmart, and apparently others as well, would be running out of chicken. "Ok, did i miss something? My store is out of chicken too. Are people hoarding it like TP from early last year or is there a production shortage?" asked one user. Hipsteresque proposed a plausible explanation, writing, "Right now it's cheaper to buy the parts then whole chickens I believe so restaurant owners are buying all chicken parts." A third user confirmed chicken is indeed in short supply at some Walmarts, writing, "The store i work at is like this too, we're barely getting any chicken at all, maybe a day's worth we get per truck (trucks don't come everyday)."

So, what exactly is going on here? Civil Eats reported that some grocery store shortages are due to supply chain issues which directly link to the severity of the omicron variant and what experts are calling 'The Great Resignation,' as employees in vulnerable and often difficult working conditions such as at meat plants and supermarkets quit their jobs. Let's hope for the sake of chicken lovers everywhere poultry returns to our shelves soon.