Pep­per­oni the lat­est food item in short sup­ply due to pan­demic

Chicago Sun-Times - - TASTE - BY KELLY TYKO USA To­day

Move over, na­tional coin and Clorox wipes short­ages. There’s a new coro­n­avirus pan­demic short­age of the na­tion’s most pop­u­lar pizza top­ping.

Small pizza shops across the na­tion are re­port­ing higher prices for pep­per­oni, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, which found a South Dakota shop is pay­ing $4.12 a pound com­pared to $2.87 in Jan­uary 2019.

Emily, a New York City pizza shop, is pay­ing $6 a pound, up from $4 ear­lier this year, chef and co-owner Matthew Hy­land told Bloomberg.

“It’s an Amer­i­can right to have pep­per­oni on pizza,” Hy­land told Bloomberg. “Pep­per­oni is such a huge part of pizza it’s im­por­tant to us that we keep it ac­ces­si­ble.” What are the rea­sons for the short­age? Ac­cord­ing to Fox News, the first is that pork pro­ces­sors have had to deal with a re­duced num­ber of work­ers dur­ing the pan­demic. Pep­per­oni is re­port­edly a com­pli­cated meat prod­uct to make, so some sup­pli­ers have re­duced the amount be­ing pro­duced. The other pos­si­ble rea­son is that the de­mand for pizza has risen dur­ing the lock­downs and pan­demic.

Small pizza restau­rants said they weren’t pass­ing the higher costs along to cus­tomers at this time.

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, large pizza chains in­clud­ing Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Lit­tle Cae­sars and Papa John’s haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced short­ages or price in­creases as they buy in­gre­di­ents with long-term con­tracts.

In June, Papa John’s even in­tro­duced a new Shaq-a-Roni pizza, the pizza gi­ant’s largest slices to date. Shaquille O’Neal, a Papa John’s board mem­ber and fran­chise owner, came up with for the 16-inch ex­tralarge pizza that sells for $12 and has 66 pep­per­oni per pie.

But con­sumers have seen higher prices in­crease this year at the gro­cery store on many sta­ples amid the pan­demic, which shut down many restau­rants.

Per­ish­able items have been more pop­u­lar with con­sumers buy­ing more meat, seafood, fruits, dairy and veg­eta­bles as more peo­ple stay home to eat.

COVID-19 and panic buy­ing caused var­i­ous short­ages, in­clud­ing hand san­i­tizer, toi­let pa­per, dis­in­fect­ing wipes, meat and yeast.

STOCK.ADOBE.COM

The COVID-19 pan­demic has ap­par­ently led to a short­age of pep­per­oni, which is due in part to in­creased de­mand for piz­zas dur­ing stay-at-home man­dates.

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