Costco facing cheese shortage amid imported food shipping delays

Imported cheese may be in short supply at Costco.

The big-box retailer is having difficulty stocking up on imported cheeses due to a shortage of shipping containers, which is causing delays in the shipment of wheels of the charcuterie staple among other imported foods.

Costco is facing delays from its suppliers, with ports backed up in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle, said Richard Galanti, Costco's executive vice president and chief financial officer, in an earnings call last week. Galanti also stated that imported foods, specifically, were being impacted.

"From a supply chain perspective, the overseas freight has continued to be an issue in regards to container shortage and port delays," Galanti told analysts on the call.

The supply chain issue has led to delays with other imported foods, such as seafood and oils. Galanti also noted that another product, bacon, is becoming more difficult to keep in stock amid unprecedented global demand, which shot up during the pandemic.

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"For whatever reason, there is a lot of demand there. So there is a little bit of challenge," he explained.

Outside of food and beverage supply issues, Galanti added that furniture, sporting goods, and lawn and garden categories have seen supply chain issues, as have surface cleansers, wipes, sanitizing sprays, and some paper goods.

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a number of ongoing freight delays globally, and consumer demand for some food items has skyrocketed. Canned beverages, too, had at times been in short supply due to shortages of aluminum cans — a fact Galanti noted in the call.

"We expect these pressures to ease in the coming months, but it’s impacting everyone, of course," Galanti said on the call.

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