Friday, May 21, 2010

Ingredients Take a Vacation

This week, I noticed a theme as I was out and about running errands. As I walked the aisles of the grocery store and visited a fast food joint, I spotted signs here, there, and everywhere informing me of food shortages. While there is no need to panic...yet, I was completely unaware of the lack of some products in today's marketplace.

In the baking aisle of my local supermarket, an entire section sat empty. To my surprise, I learned that canned pumpkin is in short supply. Those seeking pureed pumpkin need to look elsewhere; last year's rain and cold temperatures depleted the crop and a busy Thanksgiving season took what was left of the product already on store shelves. Libby's, a Nestlé USA brand and one of the largest pumpkin canners, offers a complete explanation on their website, along with recipes for tasty alternatives until August when the 2010 harvest begins.

Desserts aren't the only course in jeopardy. Mornings have been a lot tougher in households across the country as consumers lament the shortage of Eggo waffles. Last year's heavy rains in Atlanta flooded a Kellogg-owned bakery, temporarily shutting down production. To make matters worse, equipment at Kellogg's largest waffle plant in Rossville, Tennessee, is undergoing substantial renovations. The company anticipates replenishing its stock by mid-year. Be the first to know when Eggos will be back in your grocer's freezer by signing up for e-mail updates from Kellogg's.

After leaving the supermarket, I stopped by Wendy's to grab a quick bite. There, I was greeted with a sign stating that tomatoes are only available by request. Customers with a penchant for the fruit need to ask for a slice. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is again to blame for this shortage. A January freeze in Florida killed more than 80 percent of the state's tomatoes and drove up prices for the remaining crops, but never fear! The spring harvest was unaffected and tomato production and distribution is expected to continue without a hitch during the coming weeks.

Have these shortages impacted your life? I'd also like to hear about other product scarcities you've observed. Leave a message and tell me what you know!

1 comment:

  1. Update: Check out this article, "Amid pumpkin shortage, growers hope for a dryer summer," in the Wednesday, June 2, 2010, edition of The Washington Post.