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Stores have many kinds of bread.
Isolated delivery delays are more common than before the pandemic.
Stores are seeing modest weekly improvements in baked good deliveries.
In an interview, former President Donald Trump voiced his dismay at the state of the country under President Joe Biden. He said shopping has changed. Hardware stores and Tiffany don’t have what you need, he said. Trump gave one particularly downhome example.
"You go to a store, they don’t have bread," Trump said in a March 29 interview with the conservative Just the News. "We’re like a third world country."
We asked Trump’s office for examples of bread shortages in stores and did not hear back.
Such examples might themselves be in short supply. For several months late in 2021 and into early 2022, some stores did have shortages of certain products, bread included. Finding bread is not an issue today.
Stores, by and large, are stocked with bread, said Katie Denis, vice president of communications for the Consumer Brands Association, a food and household industry trade group.
"Any spotty outages are driven primarily by labor shortages," Denis said. "Earlier in the winter, omicron absenteeism was a major cause of shortages. If a truck driver was unable to work due to COVID exposure, that could mean a delay in some products reaching store shelves."
At the best of times, stores might not have your favorite cinnamon raisin or deli rye on the shelf. Before the pandemic, according to the market data company IRI, stores would be missing some baked item 10% of the time. Recently, that number has been at 13%.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no bread.
"It might mean that the brand of wheat bread you normally buy is not available, but there might be another variety of the same brand that is," said Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership at IRI.
Whatever snags stores face seem to be easing. One IRI measure shows steady, if modest, week-over-week improvement in the supply of baked goods.
Ricky Volpe, an agribusiness economist at California Polytechnic State University, said he hasn’t "seen any evidence to suggest that the food retail sector is facing any structural or widespread shortage of bread products."
Inflation has raised the price of bread, and the war in Ukraine will likely reduce world wheat supplies. Ukraine is the world’s eighth largest wheat producer, and Russian attacks have devastated the annual planting season. And Russia, the third largest producer, is subject to severe sanctions. Major supply interruptions generally drive prices even higher.
But that is a problem for the months ahead, not a force shaping how much bread is on the shelves today.
Trump said stores "don’t have bread."
His office didn’t provide any examples, and industry data shows no major issues. A particular baked good might be missing briefly from a grocery store’s shelf, but stores carry many varieties of bread. If one is unavailable, customers generally have many other options.
We rate this claim False.
Just the News, Interview with Donald Trump, March 29, 2022
CNBC, Russia’s Ukraine war boosts food prices in U.S., vexing farmers about planting more, March 24, 2022
IRI, CPG Supply Index, accessed March 30, 2022
Baking Business, Increasing the flexibility and adaptability of the food supply chain, Feb. 17, 2022
Mashed, There's Probably Going To Be A Bread Shortage In 2022 , Feb. 8, 2022
Email exchange, Ricky Volpe, associate professor of agribusiness, California Polytechnic State University, March 30, 2022
Email exchange, Katie Denis, vice president of communications, Consumer Brands Association, March 30, 2022
Email exchange, Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership, IRI, March 30, 2022
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