Weather & School – How Grocers Adjust

It’s back-to-school season which means families are adjusting to new routines. Grocers adapt in order to accommodate those needs, says Wisconsin Grocers Association President and CEO Brandon Scholz.

“You’re back now to preparation for lunch — making kids sandwiches, preparing something to put in a container,” he says. “Grocers know when school starts, and they’re going to put stuff on sale.”

He says there has been a push toward healthier lunch items: nutrition bars, protein bars, and fruit.

He adds recent weather events around the country may also impact the grocery store supply chain.

The reason you see so much variety in the grocery store is because the U.S. can source food from all over the globe. It also means the supply chain is subject to weather disasters anywhere in the world, not just here locally. Scholz says a drought in South America or Tropical Storm Hilary in California can make a local impact.

“Every day, every week, grocers have to be on their toes working with their suppliers to see if the Tropical Storm Hilary (for example) that’s landed in California is really going to impact the harvesting of strawberries or lettuce or any kind of fruits and vegetables,” he says, adding it’s a similar story for suppliers.

“If you’re supplying tomatoes, and the weather goes bad and the crop goes bad, you’ve got to find out if you can find tomatoes from other parts in the country or in South America or elsewhere to make sure that you meet the demand from your grocer.”

Scholz says it’s a developing story on if the recent storm in California will cause disruption in the produce supply chain. He says as of right now, there are no specific products that are posing issues.