PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Take a stroll down the aisles of your favorite grocery store and chances are, shoppers will find empty shelves with a number of items missing. 

"I've noticed today the shelves look a lot different," said Phoenix shopper Mark Oltz. "I had to switch from our usual salmon(dog food) over to chicken because they didn't have a full stock of what they usually have."

Jennifer Cabello of Phoenix had to stop by several stores to get everything she needs. "I went to get distilled water and the shelves are completely empty," said Cabello. "I am lucky, I got what I needed for right now, for work."

A nationwide shortage of goods and supplies is having a major impact on  local grocery stores. According to data from the end of September, 16 percent of beverages,  14 percent of snack foods, and 14 percent of frozen foods were out of stock, according to Information Resources, Inc. And that's helping drive up prices on just about everything.

Mark Miller is president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance. He said there are a number of reasons for what's going on. High demand for groceries. Not enough workers at manufacturing plants and warehouses. A lack of truck drivers to make deliveries. And an ongoing supply chain back-up.

"It's not our economy, it's a global economy and everything that is on our shelves is coming from all parts of the world, spices, teas, coffee," said Miller. "It's coming in through ports you are seeing and that is effecting some of the  finished products that hit grocery stores."

The toughest items to find right now are any items in plastic bottles, beverages, dish wash soap and cleaners. Paper goods are also in short supply. Miller predicts these items will remain hard to come by through the holidays. "The supply chain will continue to be pressed for a couple more months," says Miller.

Experts said there's no reason for the public to panic and rush out to stock up and toilet paper. However, the should be aware of the problem and take certain steps to make their lives easier heading into the holidays.

Among the recommendations:

  • Don't be loyal to one brand
  • Start shopping now for nonperishable items for the holidays
  • Consider buying and freezing your turkey and other meats when you see them in stock

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