Consumer goods continue to face supply chain issues. By now, nearly everyone has heard of the baby formula shortages. But another group of products is experiencing a significant shortage and a Time article called it the scarcity “no one’s talking about.”
This one involves tampons and pads. This shortage is the result of a combination of factors. CNN Business reports there have been supply constraints regarding materials that go into tampons, such as cotton, rayon, pulp and plastic. These products have been going to medical products like personal protection equipment.
Even the war in Ukraine plays a role. According to The Observatory of Economic Complexity, in 2020, Russia was the world’s top exporter of , which helps to grow cotton, with an export value of $7.6 billion.
Then there’s the drought in Texas. Drought.gov says 65 percent of the conditions in the Lone Star State currently qualify as a “severe drought.” According to Texas Farm Bureau, 11.4 million acres of upland cotton were harvested in the U.S. in 2019 and 5.25 million came from Texas.
But unlike the toilet paper dearth, a tampon shortage creates a biological demand and women cannot simply wait around for shelves to be restocked. So, naturally, that is being taken advantage of. The Time article mentioned dozens of women on threads and forums who discussed difficulty finding tampons and added that Amazon’s prices were higher than usual.
Then there’s the opinion of Procter & Gamble, the owner of the popular brand Tampax, pointing attention to Amy Schumer. The actress and comedian began appearing in Tampax advertisements in 2020 and according to P&G spokeswoman Cheri McMaster, “retail sales growth has exploded” and demand is up 7.7 percent since the campaign started.
Never mind that a pandemic happened to be escalating around that time or that brands such as Playtex and o.b. from Edgewell Personal Care are also having shortage issues. Thyme Sullivan, the co-founder and CEO of TOP The Organic Project, which makes tampons in Europe, said the gender of people in charge of America and its companies might explain the shortage.
Sullivan said, “We need to bring men into the conversation because in many places, they’re the decision-makers and this wasn’t on their radar.” TOP The Organic Project, founded by women, added there hadn’t been any shortages of its products since the beginning of the pandemic.