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Pepperoni the latest food item in short supply due to pandemic

Small pizza shops across the nation are reporting higher prices for pepperoni. One South Dakota shop is paying $4.12 a pound compared to $2.87 in January 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic has apparently led to a shortage of pepperoni, which is due in part to increased demand for pizzas during stay-at-home mandates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has apparently led to a shortage of pepperoni, which is due in part to increased demand for pizzas during stay-at-home mandates.
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Move over, national coin and Clorox wipes shortages.

There’s a new coronavirus pandemic shortage of the nation’s most popular pizza topping.

Small pizza shops across the nation are reporting higher prices for pepperoni, according to Bloomberg, which found a South Dakota shop is paying $4.12 a pound compared to $2.87 in January 2019.

Emily, a New York City pizza shop, is paying $6 a pound, up from $4 earlier this year, chef and co-owner Matthew Hyland told Bloomberg.

“It’s an American right to have pepperoni on pizza,” Hyland told Bloomberg. “Pepperoni is such a huge part of pizza it’s important to us that we keep it accessible.”

What are the reasons for the shortage?

According to Fox News, the first is that pork processors have had to deal with a reduced number of workers during the pandemic. Pepperoni is reportedly a complicated meat product to make, so some suppliers have reduced the amount being produced. The other possible reason is that the demand for pizza has risen during the lockdowns and pandemic.

Small pizza restaurants said they weren’t passing the higher costs along to customers at this time.

According to Bloomberg, large pizza chains including Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa John’s haven’t experienced shortages or price increases as they buy ingredients with long-term contracts.

In June, Papa John’s even introduced a new Shaq-a-Roni pizza, the pizza giant’s largest slices to date. Shaquille O’Neal, a Papa John’s board member and franchise owner, came up with for the 16-inch extra-large pizza that sells for $12 and has 66 pepperoni per pie.

But consumers have seen higher prices increase this year at the grocery store on many staples amid the pandemic, which shut down many restaurants.

Perishable items have been more popular with consumers buying more meat, seafood, fruits, dairy and vegetables as more people stay home to eat.

COVID-19 and panic buying caused various shortages, including hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, meat and yeast.

Contributing: Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Read more at usatoday.com