New Audio Available for Media Use: Supply Chain Expert Anna Nagurney on Food Shortages, the Holiday Season and the Nation’s Supply Chain Crisis


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: Supply Chain Expert Anna Nagurney on Food Shortages, the Holiday Season and the Nation’s Supply Chain Crisis

BALTIMORE, MD, November 23, 2021 – New audio is available for media use featuring supply chain expert Anna Nagurney on food shortages, the holiday season and the nation’s current supply chain crisis. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Anna Nagurney. She is the Eugene M. Isenberg Chair in Integrative Studies and is PhD Coordinator in Management Science as well as the Director, Virtual Center for Supernetworks Operations & Information Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. There are four questions and responses. These responses were provided on November 18, 2021. 


Question 1: What food products are most affected by the current supply chain crisis?

Time Cue: 00:30, Soundbite Duration: 01:00

Transcription: “Food supply chains have been among the most severely disrupted in the pandemic. In 20 months into the pandemic, many issues still remain. One has to realize that many food products are perishable. And some associated with holidays are time sensitive. Lately, some meat products are again hard to come by with less variety available for consumers, and dairy products as well, with prices for meat, including poultry, rising over 10 percent. Plus, pies are in short supply. Challenged food supply chains have had to contend with shortages of labor, escalating transportation costs, congestion issues, extreme weather conditions, and various trade policies. On top of that, various supplies needed for packaging are also hard to come by.”


Question 2: How are the food shortages affecting consumers and holiday planning?

Time Cue: 01:30, Soundbite Duration: 00:47

Transcription: “Consumers have to be more agile, and adaptive in their holiday purchases, and should have started shopping early. Turkeys, for example in some parts of the country and regions may not be available at the weight desired. Bacon supplies have increase in price, and steel for cans is also hard to come by. So canned products from pumpkin to cranberries, plus baking, pie and turkey pans are not as available. Families this year are expecting to gather in greater numbers than the year before. And there’s clearly excitement surrounding that, so adaptability, solid planning, and early shopping will all be key.”


Question 3: What are the most immediate actions that should be taken to alleviate the impact on consumers?

Time Cue: 02:18, Soundbite Duration: 00:34

Transcription: “The grocery stores and retailers need to diversify their suppliers and to build relationships with them. This is crucial to minimizing disruptions. Farmers, food processors, distributors and trade service providers must invest in the health and safety of their workers, because without labor, nothing gets produced, processed or distributed.”


Question 4: How would you describe the long-term actions that need to be taken to prevent future food scarcity issues?

Time Cue: 02:52, Soundbite Duration: 01:18

Transcription: “In the U.S., about 40 percent of the food supply is wasted, with about 1/3 of that at the retail and consumer levels. This translates into 200 billion pounds of food waste valued at over $160 billion. Reducing food waste through the food supply chain could help to feed those in need, and could also aid in the conservation of resources, such as land, water, energy and labor, used in producing, process and storing, and disposing of discarded food. Also, in addition to reducing food waste, we must do everything possible to mitigate climate change and its effects. We have seen in the pandemic more frequent severe weather events, such as droughts, floods and wild fires that have negatively impacted farm productivity as well as distribution.  This is a critical challenge for our era. There is need for greater cooperation and less competition among stakeholders in food supply chains. Working together we can accomplish so much good.”

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With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results.



Ashley Smith