By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Concerns over food supplies are circulating following the closing of big meat processing facilities due to COVID-19.  Some say that the longer food plant closures continue, the more at risk the nation’s food supply could be and that has local supermarkets hustling to keep up with consumer demand.

“The customers know the reality of the situation and they are adjusting. You see people are happy that you have toilet paper to sell them. They are not picky about the brand right now,” said Jorge Guerra, Director of Procurement for Sedano’s.

Folks in the purchasing department of Sedano’s had to rapidly respond to shifting customer demands.

New customers are looking for items on their shopping list they cannot not find elsewhere, while regular customers continue to look for, but cannot always find, their brand favorites.

“Breakfast items, they are eating more because they are home all day, dishwasher products, they are wiped out because people are doing dishes because they are home all day,” explained Guerra. “What has been different is the frozen food business. Frozen pizza, frozen breakfast items, waffles, stuff like that is a hard source.”

‘Hard source’ means it is hard for the supermarket to buy because of high demand and specific brands can be very difficult.

“Eggo waffles there is really nothing else. No one can turn on a switch and manufacture that,” said Guerra.

So what are the hardest items for supermarkets to find right now?

“The cleaning items, Lysol, branded paper towels. They are on allocation and will be through May, possibly into June is what we are hearing right now,” said Guerra.

In simple terms, you can order but the producer will only send so much.

In addition, meat and pork prices are going up but chicken prices are stable. So far so good at Sedano’s which says its supply chain is holding firm.

“We have been good with meat and pork. We have not had an issue. We use local distributors for meat items. They have helped us out a lot of years.”

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