February 2, 2022

Supply Chain, Labor Shortage Issues Add to Pre-Passover Angst

New York…As preparations for Passover ’22 (April 16- 23) go into full gear; kosher food officials are still concerned over potential repercussions from supply chain problems. They fear that while most basic products are spoken for and in some cases already in store warehouses, some products may be caught in the web of the unprecedented supply chain problems, including from overseas. Although there has been some improvement in the unloading of cargo vessels, there are still reports of backlogs. Similarly, although shipping has improved due to the dilution of the Omicron variant, there is still a significant shortage of qualified drivers. The officials told Kosher Today that they expect some spotty shortages this Passover as was the case in 2021. Several kosher independent stores ordered various brands of an item to avoid the shortages of  last year. 

One store manager said: “Last year we were caught off guard by the sheer number of people who stayed at home as well as growth in the community. You want to avoid over ordering many items since they do not move a day after the holiday.” He said that he would closely review 2021 data and then order a percentage above to make sure that he is not short and not overstocked.” He concluded by saying: “Passover is a very stressful season for us and the last thing we need is unhappy customers because we are short of items.”

Labor shortages are affecting many important ingredient items for Passover, according to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union. He cited as an example grape juice used to make many products. In general, kashrus agencies noted that items that are very “labor intensive” are facing shortages because of the lack of workers. Yet, there was mostly optimism that the problems would be weathered without “too much inconvenience to the Passover customer.” Despite the optimistic outlook, there still seemed to be a concern that there will be shortages come the Passover season.