If you've found a frustrating lack of school lunch items at your local grocery store lately, you're not alone. Many parents are taking to social media to share their thoughts on a possible shortage in things like Lunchables and juice boxes.
According to the White House, the pandemic has majorly disrupted supply chains as a whole. Because many industries saw a dramatic reduction during the 2020, those industries have been unable to keep up with the increased demands and needs of workers and consumers.
There have been shortages everywhere—from furniture to lumber, most notably—and there simply aren't enough products in inventory to avoid running out of stock. Though this issue is transitory, it's still frustrating. Especially when it comes to feeding our kids.
Kraft Heinz is the company that produces Lunchables, and they say that there has indeed been an increased demand for them.
"Compared to 2019, nearly 2 million more households bought Kraft Heinz brands in the second quarter of 2021," the company said in a statement to TODAY. "We are also seeing all-time high demand for many of our brands, including Lunchables, which in that case has been driven by proactive steps and investments in marketing and brand renovation that deliver on expectations of modern parents and kids. As such, Lunchables is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in 5 years."
While supply chain issues are a valid issue, it's also possible that items like Lunchables have increased in popularity because parents everywhere are TIRED. Tired of cooking, tired of cleaning up, tired of washing dishes, tired of making meals where our kids take one bite and then sneer. And while we're always tired of this particular hallmark of parenting, after the last 18 months we are downright "I give up" tired.
Lunchables Shortage: Where’s the cold pepperoni pizza kit? Demand for Lunchables is at an all-time high and many sh… https://t.co/1WmcyYaUrD— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) 1631813309.0
In addition to Lunchables, parents have been taking to social media to vent about a lack of juice boxes. Listen, Lunchables are one thing. We can always slice up some deli meat and cheese and a handful of Ritz crackers and toss it onto a plate and call it a day. But juice boxes are a little harder to replicate. Sure, you can buy the good ol' fashioned half-gallon jugs of Motts. But it's just not the same, and our kids agree. Juice boxes are a staple for daily lunch-packing!
There are several Reddit threads where parents say it's impossible to find any brand of juice box in their local grocery stores as well as bigger chains like Walmart and Costco. It's also an issue that many school districts are facing for their own school lunch supplies. When the in-person headcounts in schools across the U.S. dropped significantly last year, so did the demand for lunch foods.
Fellow moms, how you all handling the apparent juice box shortage? https://t.co/2mcd9jiYwr— Julie Sellew Kruger (@JSellew) 1632063934.0
The Wall Street Journal reports that with manufacturers facing labor and product shortages, many education systems are worried they won't be able to order enough food for school breakfasts and lunches when children return to the classroom en masse this fall. Juice boxes, beef patties, and chicken tenders are among items in likely short supply.
While there's no quick fix to this (or any) supply chain issue, Kraft Heinz tells TODAY they're working on the problem.
"We're actively investing in our supply chains and have teams working fast and furiously so our retailers and consumers can get more of the Kraft Heinz products they love, wherever they like to shop."