The disruption to U.S. food supply chains is now playing out in grocery stores and supermarkets across the country. It seems like shoppers empty the shelves just as quickly as supermarkets can restock, especially on high-demand items like non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and, of course, toilet paper.
Good news! Finding the essentials you need may not require you to stand in long lines or spend hours clicking through Amazon search results, only to be disappointed over and again.
Today, I have alternatives for you to consider plus options for where to find the essentials you need that are—surprise!—in stock.
While we’re being told there’s no shortage of food in the US—for whatever reason, fresh meat and poultry have pretty much disappeared. And when found you’ll discover shockingly high prices, at least for now.
Reasonable alternatives for fresh meat and poultry are canned options that are just as nutritious like tuna, albacore, salmon; chicken, corned beef, and … Spam! And don’t forget the frozen food aisle where meat, seafood, and poultry seem to be more plentiful.
Consider this challenge the perfect opportunity to try out more meatless meals, built around eggs, cheese and other non-meat protein.
Home Chef meal kits with contactless delivery right to your front door are looking better than ever, starting at $6.95 per meal—with no delivery fees or gratuities. You can still use this link to get $35 off your first order, and that looks like free food to me! Seriously, that is a great deal for excellent quality fresh food that is super easy to prepare.
Home Chef continues to be the cheapest and most family-friendly meal kit service out there—available for delivery in 95% of the US. And of course, you can cancel at any time. Might be time to give Home Chef a try.
Webstaurant is another online resource for flour. Just know you’ll be dealing with professional baker quantities in 25-pound or even 50-pound bags. An easy solution there is for family and friends to go in together on those large quantities.
Another option for flour is to call a local bakery. One reader reports that she called a local bakery in her city to inquire if they might be willing to sell flour. The answer was a resounding Yes! She picked up 25 pounds for just $18 and got to support a local business at the same time. It just might be worth your time to make a call.
Can’t find yeast anywhere to save your soul? I know the feeling. But good news! You can make it yourself using just two ingredients—flour and water. No joke!
In just 5 to 7 days, you will have a beautiful sourdough starter (yeast) made from scratch. This is so amazing. Complete step-by-step instructions here for how to start, feed, and bake fabulous sourdough bread using your homemade yeast.
If you absolutely cannot find toilet paper locally at Walmart, Target, supermarkets, Costco, or Sam’s Club—turn to online and janitorial suppliers.
While not the lowest price you’ll ever pay, No.2 Toilet Paper has high quality, 3-ply luxury TP in stock right now.
Also check out wholesale suppliers Clean It Supply and Total Restroom where you’ll find those jumbo-sized, two-ply rolls you’d usually find in public restroom stalls in stock, at least today. Nice if you’re in a pinch.
- READ POST: How to Make Disinfecting Wipes
- READ POST: Can’t Get Your Hands on Hand Sanitizer? Make Your Own
Our favorite SNiPER Hospital Disinfectant Cleaner and Odor Eliminator is back in stock and available right now with free shipping. It goes fast so a word to the wise should be sufficient.
NOTE: We hear from Ted at Nok-Out that the sprayer tops that usually come with Nok-Out products are in super short supply, as they are imported from you-probably-know-where. Ted says, “Do not toss out your sprayer tops! Soon we will have no choice but to ship product without sprayers.”
Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
As I write, it seems that Walmart stores are about the only source for lowly rubbing alcohol these days. And it appears to be in-store only, not available for delivery. Crazy, isn’t’ it? But for now, that’s the way it is.
I have an alternative for you to consider—and please consider this very carefully. It is a little odd, but a possible substitute nonetheless.
Denatured alcohol, available online and also in the paint aisle of home improvement stores like Home Depot, may be a good alternative for making disinfecting wipes and homemade hand sanitizer. I say “may be,” because I’m going to insist that you research this and come to your own conclusion. Start here.
Bottom line is that isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol have much the same disinfecting properties, albeit different chemical makeup. Denatured alcohol is stronger and best diluted with water. Denatured alcohol has a stronger odor than rubbing alcohol. And it is readily available and usually by the gallon.
Both types of alcohol are flammable, so don’t be surprised by that. Both types—isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol—are NOT TO BE INGESTED.
Altering our shopping habits in order to get what we need has been quite a wake-up call, hasn’t it? The change has been inconvenient, to say the least. But it continues to lead us to understand our food supply system. And look how creative we’ve become in finding what we need!
Question: How are you coping with empty shelves and hard-to-find things you need? We’d love to know about any tips and tricks you’ve discovered.