Let’s talk about our supply chain, and what opportunities the current economic situation may be opening up for Americans. Easiest visual is of course Walmart.
So, I’ve been checking out countries of origin on various products at Walmart for awhile now (habit from my R&D years), and noticed that there has been a nice diversification over the last year or so.
Lots of clothing, for example, coming out of places like Jordan, Egypt, India, Nicaragua, and such especially over the last year. Great additions to Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Pakistan which I noticed prior to last summer.
This is great! You never want your imports coming from one point of origin if you can help it.
And China felt like the exclusive point of origin for so many things for awhile, so I’ve really been excited to see this develop over the past few years.
However… Food. This area has been harder to evaluate when it comes to country of origin.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING
Since country of origin labeling of certain food products has been made into a political huge deal, manufacturers of food goods (particularly processed and frozen) have been much less consistent on showing where their products actually come from. Hard to gauge and make educated projections with incomplete information.
Honest labeling on all products would be great. I don’t expect or want laws passed, I want manufacturers and providers to learn from their mistakes, because they are ultimately going to lose out, along with their employees. Just sayin.
OTHER SUPPLY FACTORS
Note that the manufacturing and point of origin of products is a huge part of potential supply difficulties, but it isn’t the only factor.
Things can be made in the USA, but materials or components might come from somewhere else, and then these elements have to be transported here. Anyway….
Due to various political factors brought to us by the Swamp, China has dominated finished goods, manufacturing of components and raw materials as well as shipping for quite a few years.
Enter #Pocalypse2020 and China’s virtual shutdown, and now the shelves of Walmart are revealing the beginning of the supply chain effects here in the US.
Not sure how many other nerds out there that keep up with things like the Baltic Dry Index, global shipping or the trucking industry trends (for example), but I keep a casual ear to the ground and thought it was time to take a Walmart trip last night.
Again, not picking on Walmart, but they are a huge and easy indicator of where all these factors come together domestically.
I’m seeing product areas and specific brands of products thinning out, and in some cases, completely bare shelves. Nothing too alarming other than I wasn’t as prepared for what I would find in the food department.
All I can say is, if you want to know if your favorite brand of frozen veggies, tater tots or bacon might be a product of China, go take a casual trip to Wally World about now. You will probably be surprised since labels aren’t clear.
Americans are going to have to adjust their product preferences and shopping habits, and for the better. We have some awesome local and domestic products out there waiting to be loved!
Including meat, seafood, veggies, preserves… all the things. And spend time to check out local providers (like butchers) while surfing your thrift and antique shops. Make it fun!
This should also inspire more folks to fill the product gaps Americans may discover during this shift in supply chain.
Such an array of opportunities out there, folks! Especially an opportunity to get healthier and happier.