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Grocery Shortages: Butter Will Be Harder to Find, but That's Not All

Ahead of the holidays, butter could be scarce on the shelves and more expensive, joining items like tomatoes and Halloween candy.

Baby formula boxes on nearly empty shelves
Potential contamination at a baby formula plant led to a nationwide shortage.
Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography/Getty Images

Several popular grocery store staples are experiencing shortages this year, including tomatoes, tampons and Halloween candy. And now you can add butter to the list of harder-to-find items as the holidays approach. 

Many of these shortages as a result of pandemic-related supply chain issues and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Some are also fueled by ongoing droughts and higher temperatures caused by climate change. The butter shortage is caused by lower milk production on dairy farms.

Right now, it's unclear when the supply of many of these items will bulk back up. And, if you do find them, prices have increased: The cost of tampons, for example, has risen nearly 10% this year. 

Below, we've tallied more than a dozen items facing higher prices and dwindling supplies. For more on shortages, learn how your favorite supermarket items may be hit by "shrinkflation" and how much cheaper generic store brands really are than premium brands.

1. Beer

Empty beer bottle
Getty Images

Contamination at a reservoir in Mississippi has caused a carbon dioxide shortage that's impacting brewers across the US, particularly craft breweries. Some are paying three to four times as much for carbonation, Axios reported, while others are working on plans to switch to nitrogen. 

2. Ketchup

Heinz Ketchup bottle
Thinglass/Getty Images

A severe drought in California devastated the state's tomato crop this year, meaning household staples like ketchup, salsa and tomato sauce could become even more expensive or harder to find. 

3. Baby formula

Now playing: Watch this: Baby Formula Shortage Explained: What You Can Do

Abbott Nutrition was forced to temporarily shutter a Sturgis, Michigan, plant manufacturing baby formula after several infants developed serious bacterial infections. The closure resulted in major baby formula shortages across the US. The factory reopened in June but had to close again due to a massive flood just a few weeks later.

4. Sriracha

Sriracha factory
Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

Huy Fong Foods paused production of its well-known Sriracha until the fall, citing a shortage of chili peppers. The company usually gets its peppers from Mexico, which is experiencing a drought.

Read more: 10 Excellent Sriracha Alternatives

5. Tampons

Tampax tampons
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Procter & Gamble said in April that sourcing and transportation for materials needed to make tampons have been "costly and highly volatile," making it harder to find tampons on store shelves. The company says it's working to increase supply.

6. Popcorn

Popcorn box
Getty Images

Moviegoers, beware! There's a popcorn shortage looming due to supply chain issues. Farmers are also expected to plant less corn this year because of drought and instead plant more soybeans.

7. Bread

Two slices of bread with nothing between them.
Getty Images

Russia and Ukraine are the world's largest wheat exporters, responsible for 30% of the global wheat supply. The ongoing invasion of Ukraine threatens that supply and could affect staples like flour, pasta, pretzels and even bread, which has already seen an increase in price.

8. Pet food

Cat with can of cat food
Wait for Light/Getty Images

You might already be having a hard time finding vittles for your furry friend, as supply chain issues have led to a shortage of canned wet dog and cat food across the country that's not expected to go away any time soon. 

9. Turkey

Butterball turkey
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supply chain issues, coupled with a bird flu epidemic that resulted in more than 5 million turkeys being killed, could mean a birdless Thanksgiving for some families. Experts predict a shortage over the holidays or at least higher prices for those holiday birds. 

10. Mustard

jars of Grey Poupon mustard
Kevin Schafer/Getty Images

Climate change and the crisis in Ukraine have caused Europe to experience a shortage of the popular condiment that could eventually reach the US, USA Today reported

11. Peaches

Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A freeze that hit the southeastern US in late March delayed this year's peach season, while an unseasonably warm winter followed by two brutal cold snaps decimated peach crops in the Northeast. 

12. Halloween candy

Halloween candy in a jack o'lantern
Getty Images

Back in July, Hershey's CEO Michele Buck warned that the company "will not be able to fully meet consumer demand" for Halloween candy, according to CNN.

While cocoa and milk supplies have been affected by supply-chain issues, the real culprit is a big spike in demand: Hershey's saw a double-digit sales increase between 2021 and 2022 and had to prioritize manufacturing its regular products over Halloween and Christmas sweets.

"We had a strategy of prioritizing everyday on-shelf availability," Buck said, CNN reported. "It was a tough decision."

13. Champagne

Champagne bottles
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The US is at the start of a Champagne shortage that could last several years, Wine Enthusiast reported in December.

When the pandemic hit, the usual suspect -- supply chain issues -- left importers high and dry. Then the demand for bubbly fluctuated wildly: At first weddings and other celebrations were canceled, but then "consumers began to invest more heavily in luxury ingredients and high-end wines to enjoy at home, in lieu of dining out at restaurants," export manager Laurance Alamanos told the magazine.

Champagne may be aged for years before it's bottled, so decisions to slow or stop production during the pandemic may not be felt for some time. 

14. Butter

butter melting in a skillet
James Martin/CNET

Ahead of the holidays, butter could be harder to find due to lower milk production on dairy farms, as well as labor shortages, the Wall Street Journal reported. Already, the staple cooking item has risen in price by 24.6% since last year.