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SUPPLE CHAIN ISSUES CAUSE HEADACHE TO CAMPUS CAFETERIAS

By Tyler Johnson and Yigit Kacmaz, GUEST WRITER AND TRUMPET NEWS AND CULTURE & DIVERSITY EDITOR

The growing national supply chain and inflation issues have hit close to campus as the cafeterias are running low on food and supplies. This has put strain on management and faculty as they find alternatives.  

The shortages on campus have been noticed by some faculty and cafeteria workers.

According to Marty Johnson, director of Food and Dining Services, the suppliers to the college are facing challenges that are putting them behind schedule.  

“Our main distributor will sometimes get some disruptions based on demand in their deliveries to the college, which would then lead to a particular item like raspberries to run out,” said Johnson. 

According to CNBC, the supply chain shortage is caused by COVID-19. COVID caused shutdowns of industries and lockdown, and thus, a lower consumer demand and supply. 

Lifting the restrictions and lockdowns helped increase the demand but due to challenges of shortage of staffing and international border controls remaining at the COVID-19 level, supply can still not meet the demand.  

“I would say there are some supply chain issues that perhaps we can’t get the exact product we would like, so we might have to get a substitute of a product,” said Johnson.

Martin Brother’s Distributing Co, Inc. in Cedar Falls supplies Wartburg with food and other items, Johnson said. According to the Martin Brothers website, the supply chain issue has significantly impacted the company as it relied on a forecasting tool that predicts what items that need to be sent out. Unfortunately, the company can longer rely on this tool.  

A change in consumer behavior over the past year has dramatically shifted due to the amount of people eating at home to comply with social distancing and caused a big demand for retail products.  

As states began to open back up from the COVID-19 shutdowns and consumers went out again, the demand for packaged products has significantly grown for food service. This has also caused the prices of certain items like sirloin to increase.  

“A year ago, loins cost around $20 a pound, which is pretty pricey in my opinion. Right now, they’re over $40,” said Johnson.    

The deliveries have also impacted Mensa workers as they face some challenges in the workplace such as their work hours either being cut or lengthened.  

“I had my shift extended by 30 minutes without my manager notifying me,” said student Mensa worker Sean Carrol.  

Although the behind the scenes may be dramatic, students have seen little impact. 

“Other than some sauces in the Den I was not able to get but other than that, I have not seen anything noticeable,” said second-year engineering student Ethan Lambert.  

The specifics of when the missing products would be back in the Dining Services is still unknown.  

“The situation will get worse, before it gets better,” CNBC reported.  

Farner-Bocken, another college supplier, declined to comment on the supply chain problem.  

For more information contact Johnson at marty.johnson@wartburg.edu.

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