Candy canes have become as part of Christmas as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. But this year a shortage in peppermint harvest and COVID-19 related logistics problems means some stores will have fewer candy canes or none at all. This according to Fox Business.
Candy Cane Shortage at Christmas
So, how serious is the shortage of candy canes in 2021? The issue can be best explained with what is happening to Economy Candy. This is a company that has been around since 1937, and in its 84-year history, this is the first time it has experienced a shortage.
The owner of Economy Candy, Mitchell Cohen, told the New York Post, “We only received half of our candy cane order for the holiday season and sold out almost immediately. We currently have zero in stock. Raw material and ingredient shortages globally have had quite an impact.”
The raw materials for candy cane are primarily peppermint. And according to the US Department of Agriculture, the production of peppermint is down by 25% in the past decade. With the U.S. also producing 70% of the global output of peppermint oil, such a decline is going to affect the industry. Moreover, there is also a global shortage of other ingredients which is compounding the problem. Add the supply chain issues currently affecting businesses, and candy canes are the latest item to start disappearing from shelves.
According to Fox Business, “The ripple effect is creating havoc in the gingerbread house construction sector.” This sounds comical at first, but there are many small businesses that are dependent on the money they make during the holidays. From gingerbread houses to candy canes, these are real-world dollars small businesses will be missing.
Starting on Thanksgiving with Black Friday and going all the way to Christmas, the last couple of months of the year are a boon for businesses large and small. Any hiccups during this time and businesses must reassess how they start the coming new year.
Peppermint Shortage Beyond Candy Canes
Beyond candy canes, peppermint is used as essential oils to treat ailments and in countless foods, cosmetics, and more. This means everyone that relies on it will be facing shortages and/or higher prices moving forward.
For the many small businesses in food production, healthcare, and cosmetics the shortage will have a bigger impact. And as they increase their prices to adjust for the costs, it will mean competing with imports with lower prices. So, a shortage of peppermint doesn’t simply mean fewer candy canes in stores for the holidays. It also means thousands of businesses will now have to adjust to the challenges the shortage is going to bring.
Let us hope growers in the U.S. will start increasing their yield to help the many businesses that rely on peppermint for their livelihood.