Fact Check-Images do not show empty shelves in U.S. supermarkets in October 2021

Alongside hashtags like #BidenEmptyShelves and #BareShelvesBiden, some social media users have shared miscaptioned images that are unrelated to the October 2021 global supply chain shortages.

Reuters reported supply chains have been gummed up by robust demand as economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to more than $10 trillion in global economic stimulus, about half of it in the United States. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global shortage of workers needed to produce raw materials and move goods from factories to consumers ( here ),.

As a result, Americans could face empty shelves and higher prices during the holiday season ( here ).

An image showing a man with a cap walking next to almost bare shelves ( here , here ) is viewable on Getty Images ( ) and dates back to March 2020. According to the description, it was captured at a Hispanic specialty supermarket in Los Angeles, California, during special shopping hours for senior citizens and disabled customers, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another image showing an empty shelf with soda boxes in the background, ( here , here ), was taken on February 2021 by Reuters photographer Go Nakamura ( here ). The photo depicts a supermarket in Houston, following the Texas freeze that caused a shortage of food and clean water.

Some iterations of this picture have been edited to include an image of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the left bottom corner.

A picture showing food packets on partly empty shelves ( here , here ) has been circulating online since at least 2011 ( here ) and appears to have been captured in Thailand. The logo of “Top Market”, a grocery chain in the Southeast Asian country, is visible in the left bottom corner of the image (see here )

Reuters has previously addressed similar posts with miscaptioned or altered images in Belgium and the UK here here.


Miscaptioned. Posts feature images of empty supermarket shelves from 2020 or earlier that are unrelated to the current global supply chain crisis.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.