Supply chain problems and inflation hit virtually all consumer goods. After the 2020 toilet paper shortage, now the lack of tampons on US shelves complicates many people’s everyday lives.
According to Bloomberg, tampon prices have increased significantly – almost 10% compared to last year.
Shortages appear to stem from supply constraints on key materials like cotton and plastic, that have been in high demand from the start of the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine has further reduced supplies as Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of fertilizer, which is used to grow cotton. A drought in Texas also contributed to the situation.
“Shortages of raw materials and supply chain bottlenecks aren’t unique to period products, but much like the US infant formula shortage, there’s an unrelenting and urgent biological demand for them that can’t be easily substituted. People who menstruate can’t simply wait for the shelves to be restocked,” said BBC Business in an article.
After an article in Time called attention to a shortage of tampons and pads “that no one is talking about,” major retailers and manufacturers acknowledged the lack of products on shelves.
A representative for Procter & Gamble, which makes the Tampax brand of tampons, told CNN Business that consumers may not be able to buy their tampons in US stores, but they are “producing tampons 24/7 to meet the increased demand.”
“We understand it is frustrating for consumers when they can’t find what they need,” the P&G spokesperson said in an email. “We can assure you this is a temporary situation.”
Not all brands have been affected equally. Kimberly-Clark, the Irving, Tex.-based consumer goods giant and maker of U by Kotex tampons, told The Post that it “has not experienced a product or supply shortage” in the United States, saying it is “working closely with our retail partners to keep shelves stocked.”
Edgewell, a major personal hygiene producer, which makes Playtex and o.b. tampons and Carefree and Stayfree liners and pads, said that Covid-related staffing challenges in late 2021 and early 2022 contributed to supply issues. But the company also said it is taking steps “to build back inventory”.
Pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS said they are aware of shortages of tampons and other menstrual products in some areas and are working with their suppliers to ensure they can restock as soon as possible.