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Food Supply Chain Disruptions
Vidith IYER

Oct 20, 2023

An issue many Americans falsely believe they can ignore.

We tend to take the commodities around us for granted, and food is no exception. But stop and think for a minute. What if your favorite ice cream company ran out of ice cream? Or if Doritos ran out of their cool ranch flavor? In America, these are issues we rarely hear about. But hidden from public consciousness, they are present and can cause huge problems if not resolved.

In 2021, Heinz almost ran out of ketchup, causing a national shortage of the sauce. An increase in price resulted due to the burgeoning demand.

Such events result from a lack of food, labor or supply chain capacity. Environmental problems also play a role. Severe heat waves and drought can cause crops to rot. For example, 20 percent of Italian tomatoes were lost to heat alone in 2021.

Today, the Russia and Ukraine war is causing a significant shortage of specific foods. 30 percent of global wheat exports are from both of these countries, as are 12 percent of worldwide calories. Further, fertilizer exports have slowed down in countries like Russia and China due to the war, as the gas used to make them has increased in price.

The shortages of food and agricultural resources have led to widespread, government-managed storage policies across the world. It’s a simple dynamic: the more scarce something is, the more valuable it becomes, and the more it is stored, rationed and or made exclusive.

The hoarding of these resources is terrible for many countries, especially those without the funds to hoard products. Many of the countries with food resources, like the United States, should help countries like Egypt and Algeria, which are especially affected by the food price increase.

Furthermore, countries, especially relatively rich ones, should look into creating technology that will help agriculture be more resistant in harsh climates. Agriculture without natural means should be explored as a potential solution to the effect of climate on food supply chains.

For wars and political tensions, countries should plan for the potential necessity of self-reliance. Otherwise, the effects of global turmoil are magnified and resource-based power imbalances grow.

Most American citizens don’t struggle getting food. But we shouldn’t pretend we’re immune to such issues, and we shouldn’t overlook the food-based plights of other countries. We are integrated into a globalized economy that isn’t going anywhere. We need to acknowledge this and uphold our responsibilities as a wealthy nation.


“Allianz | Eleven Countries at High Risk of a Food Crisis.”,

“Food Chain Crisis Explained: Rising Food Prices & Supply Disruptions | Cheetah.”,

Melbourne, Dr Medo Pournader, University of. “The Cascading Crisis of Global Food Supply Chains.” Pursuit, 13 June 2022,

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