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Supermarket shelves lie empty as venders struggle to predict demand


Supermarket shelves lie empty as venders struggle to predict demand

Early in 2023, a crisis involving salads in British supermarkets made news. Nevertheless, consumers across Europe and the Middle East who are looking for some basic groceries—such as toothpaste, pasta, and beer—are finding gaps on the shelves.

Leading consultants, analysts, and business leaders claimed that supermarkets are finding it difficult to forecast demand as consumer behavior is being affected by the cost-of-living crisis, new purchasing options, and the COVID-19 experience, which is coming to an end.

Along with war and weather, other factors that contribute to erratic stock levels of goods like chocolate, ketchup, and shampoo include supply chain problems and a reluctance to make deals with suppliers while commodity prices are high.

According to Luke Jensen, executive director of British online retailer Ocado, recent inflationary pressure has caused consumers to discontinue particular products in a more abrupt and severe manner than in the past. 

In addition, Jensen serves as the CEO of Ocado Solutions, which offers food delivery technology to several European retail chains, including Auchan Retail in Poland, Casino Group in France, Ica in Sweden, and Alcampo in Spain.

Changes in consumer behavior brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns and the rise of online retail are further contributing factors; however, it's difficult to anticipate how much consumers will return to stores given how their lifestyles are still adapting following the epidemic.

In addition to challenging to predict what consumers will want, suppliers are also having trouble filling orders due to rising commodity prices, shipping bottlenecks, and a lack of labor and raw materials.

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