Sparsely stocked shelves at store

In a lot of ways, modern U.S. consumers are spectacularly spoiled. We don’t mean to be critical, since the ability to obtain virtually anything you want at any time is fairly great. But the widespread, constant availability of so many products and services has led to an expectation that those items will always be available. As a result, even a minor inconvenience can lead to stress and panic sometimes — particularly when it comes to our food.

Food shortages have always been an unfortunate part of life. But before the toilet paper shortage that coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, many U.S. citizens had been spared from any seemingly random occurrences of sparsely stocked shelves. Of course, two-plus years later, the presence of shortages at the supermarket has become much more common. And between the lingering pandemic, worsening climate change, and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February 2022, anyone hoping for a reprieve from food shortages in 2023 shouldn’t hold their breath.

We’d love nothing more than to declare that bountiful (and affordable) food products await us in 2023. But the reality of the global situation dictates pragmatism rather than heedless optimism. While there’s no guarantee any potential issues will come to pass, the available evidence provides clues on what to expect. With that in mind, here’s what we know about the food shortages that may happen in 2023.

Tractor plowing wheat field in Ukraine
Person comparing vegetable oil brands
stalks of corn in field
Various butter brands at store
Valentine's Day hershey kisses
unopened champagne bottles
fresh tomatoes on the vine
flour overflowing from bag
Grazing cows in field
Empty shelf below canned goods
Sack filled with produce