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How To Handle Supply Chain Shortages As Holiday Season Approaches

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's something many people have dealt with recently: a shortage of some of their favorite grocery store items. CBS3 looked into how this could affect the holiday season.

Grocery shopping these days often involves more than one stop.

"Going to like four or five different stores just to get some food," East Mount Airy resident Cherlisa Smith said.

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Even then, you might not walk away with everything on your list.

"I'm going in here now trying for the third time for the same thing, some chicken breasts," North Philly resident Dorothy Brown said.

Smith says she hasn't been able to get Lunchables for her children for school, adding that you "can't find a lot of juices for kids."

Supply chain issues continue to cause headaches for shoppers as they face limited supplies, or in some cases, bare shelves. Eyewitness News spotted this scene recently at the ShopRite on the Roosevelt Boulevard.

"It might not be good to be a procrastinator these days," Doug Baker said in regards to shopping trips.

Doug Baker, with the Food Industry Association, says that's especially true heading into the holidays.

"If you see it and you want it, you might want to go ahead and pick it up," Baker said. "These last 20 months have been unprecedented."

The cause of the problem is complicated but involves a labor shortage and difficulties moving products.

"There's not enough individuals, human capital unloading those containers and then moving those containers," Baker said. "So, whether it be packaging, ingredients, finished products, imported products, the movement of those goods has slowed down."

What hasn't slowed down is the demand for the products which means a lot of prices are on the rise too.

"If you find it, it's more expensive," Brown said.

Another North Philadelphia resident, Charles Ballard noticed the cost of meats has gone up.

"The meats are, definitely the meats," Ballard said.

Cherlisa Smith noted that a "four-pack of short ribs is usually like $8" and has gone "up to like $30."

Experts say supply-chain-related inflation will stick around so you'll likely be paying more for that upcoming holiday meal.

The key is to try and plan ahead. Buy when you find the products you absolutely need to have and try to buy the rest when they're on sale.

Experts say the cost of protein is higher this year going into the holiday season, but grocers will many times offer deals on that to get you in the door.

"They'll lose money on the turkey in order to sell all of the other things, that the consumer has on their holiday table at one store," Baker said.

Plus, try to be flexible on the brand you buy and be prepared to take this approach to grocery shopping through the holiday season.

"So, we're really anxious to get the industry fully employed again," Baker said. "So, we can get this supply chain moving."

Experts anticipate dealing with these supply chain constraints well into 2022.

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