The U.S. Is Facing a Candy Cane Shortage

It all leads back to something called the supply chain.

Elena Seiryk/Shutterstock

As if this year hasn't been weird enough, the United States is facing a series of shortages. All kinds of things are harder to find these days, from everyday household items to holiday-specific products. It all leads back to something called the supply chain and it seems to be getting worse as the days go on. First, it was toilet paper and meat. Now, Americans are facing shortages from chicken tenders to cream cheese, and even candy canes.

The New York Post has dubbed the shortage the great Candy Cane Crisis of 2021, which feels dramatic, even with Christmas right around the corner. According to the outlet, retailers around the country have struggled to keep candy canes in stock. The two biggest drivers of the candy cane shortage, per the outlet, are supply chain issues and as well problems with this year's peppermint crop.

According to the US Department of Agriculture's statistics, peppermint production fell nearly 25% in the US in the past decade. In 2011, 6.57 million pounds of peppermint oil were produced in the US. By 2020, production was down to under 5 million pounds. Additionally, the Post reports that mint crops had to contend with a fungal disease that can't be killed with traditional fungicides and can wipe out entire fields of mint.

"We only received half of our candy cane order for the holiday season and sold out immediately. We currently have zero in stock," Mitchell Cohen, owner of New York's Economy Candy, told the Post. "Raw material and ingredient shortages globally have had quite an impact."

Cohen claims this is the first year he's ever run out of candy canes, which is saying a lot considering they're typically everywhere during the holiday season. Food & Wine contacted the Spangler Candy Company, which is currently the largest candy cane manufacturer in the United States. The company told the outlet they're running behind on production, which hasn't helped the supply problems.

"Availability of candy canes has been limited this year by a variety of supply chain delays," Kirk Vashaw, CEO of the confection company, said in a statement. "With those delays, the elves are working extra hard to catch up with demand. As a result, we are seeing candy canes sell out at retail earlier than normal."

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.