STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Shoppers continue to face issues with a low stock of items at grocery stores but experts say those with food allergies are largely impacted.
We spoke with the owner of an organic grocer in the Poconos about how they are helping its customer’s dietary needs.
“A lot of holes on the shelves, things customers have been purchasing for years that they all of a sudden can’t get. And we’re having shortages imposed on us from our suppliers,” stated Jennifer Laporta, general manager of Earthlight Natural Foods.
Jennifer Laporta’s family has owned earthlight natural foods since 1997. The store is Pocono’s largest organic grocer and is a source for those with dietary allergies.
Sales associate Nicole Davis says she deals with customers asking about specific products for their allergies daily.
“I’ve had to actually do a specialty order for somebody on a product and it took about six months before the product actually came in the store that I could give it to her and it was pretty sad every time that she’d call to ask if it was there and she couldn’t get it anywhere else,” explained Nicole Davis, a sales associate at Earthlight Natural Foods.
Store officials tell us they’ve been filling in holes on the shelves with different brands, especially almond milk products.
Laporta says they’ve had more customers choosing healthier ingredients since the covid lockdowns.
“We were noticing a lot of people choosing to eat cleaner foods, making different choices. They weren’t eating out in restaurants so often, they weren’t able to do that so people were cooking,” said Laporta.
A registered dietitian tells me says she’s been working with her patients to find dietary substitutes for items out of stock.
“If you don’t have celiacs disease, if you don’t have a dairy allergy, try to leave some of these items for these people that do need the products and maybe wait until you see that more are in stock before you go back to that product,” Katie Graham, a registered dietitian at Lehigh Valley Health Network.
The dietitian says she’s found meal delivery services have been helpful for those struggling to fill their dietary needs.