A shortage of candy canes is sparking an all-too-real nightmare before Christmas, as supply-chain challenges and other issues take a bite out of the venerable holiday treat, a media report says.
“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, the owner of Economy Candy on Manhattan's Lower East Side, told the New York Post. “Raw material and ingredient shortages globally have had quite an impact.”
Cohen also said the lack of candy canes is swinging a wrecking ball into gingerbread houses.
"We can’t really do a gingerbread house without a candy cane tree, a candy cane door, or candy cane anything,” he said.
Part of the problem is peppermint.
The U.S. is a leader in peppermint oil production, producing 70% of the world's output, according to the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
But peppermint production in the U.S. has declined nearly 25% over the past decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Production in 2020 was down 9% from the year before and over the years crops had been battered by a series of problems, including a persistent fungal disease, according to the Counter.
In addition, Covid-related supply chain challenges are causing enough holiday havoc to trip up a whole squadron of sugar plum fairies.
Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain practice at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, told USA Today that cream cheese, peppermint and international foods are among food products in short supply.
The candy cane catastrophe comes on the heels of a reported shortage of Christmas trees.
Prices are climbing due to extreme weather events in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, supply chain congestion in and out of ports, and shipping container shortages, according to the American Christmas Tree Association, an industry trade group.
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