Think 2020 Can’t Get Any Worse? Now There’s a Pepperoni Shortage
When the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls became one of the nation's leading COVID-19 hotspots earlier this year, it plunged South Dakota's largest city right into the middle of a major health crisis, as eventually more than 900 employees tested positive for coronavirus.
Those medical concerns are now in the past tense for the plant, and many others around the country, but now the story has become one of economics.
A report from Bloomberg says that production shutdowns at meat plants have led to a shortage of one of America's most popular pizza toppings - pepperoni.
The three-week closure of the Sioux Falls plant put a major dent in the meat supply, as Smithfield estimates that the Sioux Falls plant supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week or about 18 million servings per day.
But the local facility wasn't the only one with production issues due to the pandemic.
In all, nearly 240 plants in the United States reported a combined caseload of more than 16,000 positive tests, according to the CDC.
The disruption in production has led to a shortage of a number of meat products, including pepperoni.
In their report, Bloomberg talked with Nick Johnson, the manager at Charlie’s Pizza House in Yankton. Johnson says the restaurant is paying about 45 percent more per pound then they were in January of 2019.
Another South Dakota pizza place, R-Pizza in Vermillion was forced to change pepperoni brands for the first time in his nearly nine years because of the shortage.
There's one more factor that is contributing to the pepperoni shortage. More and more of us are staying home because of social distancing and that has led to a sharp increase in the demand for pizza.