Due to the extraordinary economic situation, people living in Hungary should expect severe food shortages in the coming days. According to the Federation of Hungarian Food Industries (FÉSZ), both necessary staples and certain specialty goods may disappear from Hungarian supermarket shelves before Christmas.
The biggest shortage that currently weighs on the shoulders of the small shop owners has to do with insufficient sugar supplies, Katalin Neubauer, Secretary General of the Hungarian National Trade Association told Index. This is due to the fact that wholesalers provide a limited quantity of this price-capped product to the shops which do not purchase the product directly from the producers. In this way, everyone gets enough, in theory. However, it does work that way in reality. Therefore, it may occur that a small supermarket receives only 3 kilogrammes of sugar for an entire week.
This May, Hungary experienced a temporary shortage of the popular Balaton chocolate bar, which is an iconic Hungarian snack. The reason for this was the forced shutdown and restart of the production base in Ukraine, explained the general secretary of the Hungarian Brand Association. Nestlé then solved the temporary stock shortage by distributing the Balaton sub-brands produced in the Czech Republic and Poland. Since then, the entire product range is available again in Hungary.
In addition, the beloved Pilóta biscuits have vanished, too. Mondelez Hungária Ltd. said that Pilóta biscuits disappeared from the shelves due to issues with packaging and raw materials, as well as difficulties affecting their production capacities.
István Knezsik, the president of the Association of Hungarian Automobile Importers, also informed us about the lack of Skodas on the market. However, it is not just cars but also mobile phones that are subject to shortages. Although the Apple iPhone 14 and 14 Plus models are available in all capacities and in almost all colours, the iPhone 14 pro and pro max versions are facing significant delays. The stock is currently fulfilling September pre-orders. Furthermore, Media Markt reported that there was a noticeable shortage of premium large-size OLED televisions and home theater amplifiers, for which demand jumped sharply in November.
The general shortages and rising prices of Ukrainian and Russian agricultural goods and food industry raw materials pose constant challenges. However, sometimes, quite mundane events disrupt the supply chain. For instance, during the pandemic, there was a trend of panic shopping for toilet paper and other necessary staples. Based on the lessons learned from the previous crises, inflation will most likely affect medium-sized brands, which are bound to experience reduced demand in the coming months. This is because they will have to compete with premium brands in terms of innovation and with commercial brands in terms of price.