Utahns are seeing the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to repeat itself — with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert catching the virus a second time, the Sundance Film Festival shifting to an online format, and store shelves once again barren of goods.
According to responses to a Twitter prompt by The Salt Lake Tribune this week, it’s not just toilet paper and disinfectant wipes that Utahns are unable to find on grocery store shelves, but a wide array of items.
Some experts have cited global supply chain issues, caused by or made worse by the pandemic. Stores nationwide saw similar supply problems when the delta variant was running wild. And labor shortages, exacerbated by the pandemic, may make it more difficult to produce those items and get them onto shelves.
Here, by category, are some of the scarce items in Utah, according to people who responded to The Tribune’s request for comments:
Produce • Carrots, broccoli, lettuce, cilantro and other vegetables; bananas and other fruit (though “no one wanted the grapes and blueberries,” one respondent said), and bagged salad kits.
Staples • Milk, canned beans, ramen noodles, Pillsbury biscuits and crescent rolls, bagels, chicken, sausage and large containers of Greek yogurt.
Other food • Pasta sauce, chips, toaster strudel and spices — one respondent listed several spices and ingredients that are believed to have antibacterial properties: Nutmeg, cloves, ginger, garlic, honey and apple cider vinegar.
Beverages • Orange juice, ginger ale, Gatorade and Fresca were mentioned — and one person said “alcohol,” though it wasn’t clear whether they meant beer or rubbing alcohol.
Other household items • Garbage bags, cat food and cat litter.
Medicine • Cold medicine, chewable Pepto-Bismol — and one of the hardest commodities anywhere: COVID-19 home tests.
Even when groceries are available, inflation has led to a decline in Utah’s consumer sentiment, according to a new study published by the Kem C. Gardner Institute. However, Utah’s level of consumer confidence consistently tops the national average, the Gardner study found.