Over the past few months, many seemingly random foods have become wildly expensive or unusually hard to find. These include lettuce in Australia, onions & salami in Japan and even bottled beer in Germany, sending businesses scrambling to find alternatives to feed their customers. The problem is usually not so much a lack of the product but more to do with a stretched global supply chain. It’s a whirlwind of factors, from weather to the pandemic to geopolitical tensions and rebounding demand.
When manufacturers can’t make enough glass bottles and aluminium cans, it trickles down to people’s ability to buy things like soda and beer. A shipping container shortage and tight labour market add to supply challenges. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbated those, cutting off supplies of grains &cooking oils, and causing food & energy prices to soar.
One of the newest additions to the list of hard-to-find items is sriracha. The maker of the iconic sauce, Huy Fong Foods, has been forced to suspend production due to a lack of chili peppers. Consumers are lamenting the “worst news of the year” and the “end of days”.
Adearth of popcorn in the US has also become a source of worry for movie goers as millions make their way to cinemas for summer blockbusters. Not only are containers like lids, cups & paper bags in short supply, farmers may also be giving up corn to switch to more lucrative crops. Even vegetables are harder to come by.