Snap, Crackle, Pop: Some cereals are hard to find

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Breakfast bowls across the country remain bare as a mini-cereal crisis continues to confound Canadians.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/01/2022 (197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Breakfast bowls across the country remain bare as a mini-cereal crisis continues to confound Canadians.

A labour dispute, supply-chain issues and the pandemic have resulted in a shortage of family favourites such as Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and Cornflakes.

Bereft breakfast eaters have noticed a distinct lack of the staples on supermarket shelves with many taking to social media to voice their frustrations.

A labour dispute, supply-chain issues and the pandemic have resulted in a shortage of some cereal brands. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

The official Rice Krispies account on Twitter has been fending off queries from bemused breakfasters and bakers alike.

“Due to supply constraint in manufacturing there is a temporary shortage of Rice Krispies. At this time we do not have an estimated date on when it will be back in stock but can assure you, we are working as fast as we can to get it back on store shelves,” the tweet, published on 25 January, said.

The Kellogg’s pay dispute — which saw 1,400 cereal plant workers down tools from October to December last year — has been resolved but the effects of the 11-week strike are still being felt in our kitchen cupboards

The Kellogg’s pay dispute has been resolved but the effects of the 11-week strike are still being felt in our kitchen cupboards. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Winnipeg resident Becky Lett is disappointed after not being able to source the crunchy rice cereal which she uses in a treat she makes for her friend.

“I make Rice Krispies whenever I visit because she can’t quite do it without burning the marshmallows,” said Lett, who has been searching in shops and online.

She recently visited her neighbourhood store to check on the status but there was nary a box on display with only pre-made squares and brown Rice Krispies on offer.

“I get groceries delivered and tried for weeks to get it in. Ended up getting a no-name brand once and switched for the brown rice kind another time,” she continued.

Nurse Jane Kraut has also not been able to source Rice Krispies or Cornflakes and has been forced to make substitutions, often opting for no-name brand cereals.

Kraut has mostly been doing her shopping online and has found the cereals have vanished from her order app or are removed from her shopping cart as out of stock, she says.

“We tried to get a few other types but to no avail,” she said.

As well as serving them for breakfast, Kraut also uses Rice Krispies and Cornflakes her cooking, with the latter being a key ingredient in her kugel.

“Noodle kugel is a Jewish dish eaten with sour cream and berries. I can’t make it without the cornflakes,” she explains.

On Amazon packs of the product are being sold for anything from between $19.99 to $26.

“That is way over the top,” Kraut said,” I would not pay that kind of money for a box.”

As well as cereals, pantry staples such as tinned soup, noodles and spices seem to also be dwindling.

Extreme weather conditions are being blamed for the temporary lack of items.

Independent grocer Darren Miller who owns Portage Supermarket in Portage la Prarie has certainly noticed the shortage.

“A lot of the Campbell soups are shorted,” he said.

“Ichiban noodles are starting to disappear and some of the rices – the different varieties – are harder to find,” he continued.

A spokesperson from the Retail Council of Canada has urged shoppers to keep things in perspective.

“Retailers are concerned with a range of challenges in the supply chain, posed by COVID impacts, labour shortages, inclement weather and other factors,” said Michelle Wasylyshen, National Spokeswoman of the Retail Council of Canada.

“But lets not lose sight – there is no threat to the overall robustness of the food supply system in Canada.”

Anthony Fuchs, VP of Communication at Food Health & Consumer Products (FHCP) Canada says a “perfect storm of disruptions is impacting Canada’s supply chains”.

“More than 75 per cent of FHCP members report labour shortages are impacting their production and ability to supply product in Canada,” he said.

Extreme weather and shortages of shipping containers, packaging and ingredients also complicate the issue.

The result of these challenges will felt in our pockets with rising grocery costs and fewer discounts given product scarcity in the months to come.

But Fuchs counsels caution.

“It’s important to remember though that often what appears to be a shortage is really just temporary low inventory.

“If you aren’t finding your preferred product, wait a few days or talk to the store manager; its usually on its way,” he explained.

Twitter: @nuchablue

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