Candy canes are now joining the list of items facing a shortage this holiday season owing to low peppermint production and overall supply chain disruptions, leaving behind consumers with a weak fruit-flavored taste in the mouth.
Congestion at ports and labor shortages in the trucking industry have driven peppermint-flavored candy canes out of shelves with Christmas shoppers having to content themselves with fruit-flavored alternatives. Supply issues have left shopkeepers dismayed during the peak season.
“We only received half of our candy cane order for the holiday season and sold out almost immediately. We currently have zero in stock,” Mitchell Cohen, owner of Economy Candy, told the New York Post. “Raw material and ingredient shortages globally have had quite an impact.
Economy Candy is a New York icon, serving patrons since 1937, and Cohen said that the store ran out after selling around 12,000 pieces. “Since candy canes were invented, we’ve had candy canes,” he said. A local business survey by the Post revealed some retailers are carrying enough stock while others have none left.
Peppermint candy canes are running out of inventory on online stores as well. While classic options are listed as out of stock on e-commerce stores like Spangler Candy and Candy Warehouse, big box names like Amazon and Walmart are displaying limited numbers of the venerable holiday treat and delayed delivery times.
“I’ve been into Walgreens, Rite Aid, and many more drugstores. I can’t find candy canes anywhere,” New Jersey resident Sue Moll wrote on radio station 92.7 WOBM’s blog. “And, it’s not like boxes are empty, there are no boxes.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, peppermint production in the country has gone down by almost 25 percent during the past decade. The United States is the number one producer of peppermint oil in the world, accounting for 70 percent of the global output. A reduction in crops has also been attributed to a persistent fungal disease.
More than 1.76 billion candy canes are made annually, with the majority, almost 90 percent, getting sold out between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with most sales happening during the second week of December.
Along with peppermint candy canes, cream cheese, international food, turkeys, cranberry sauce, and Christmas trees are found in short supply during this year’s holiday season. Prices for trees are increasing because of extreme weather in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest and port congestions.