Nestle, which is a major producer and sells approximately 85 percent of all canned pumpkin in the US as the Libby’s brand, stated that customer inquiries have grown 5 times since last fall, when it cautioned it may not have enough supply to get through the holiday season.
For all you lovers, this means you can relax, and relish in the thought of pumpkin pies for this Thanksgiving. It also will mean an end to the hoarding, rationing, and even in some locations profiteering which have been ongoing since the heavy rains of 2009 ruined the crop and created the shortage. The shortage was magnified with the growing popularity of the tasty dish in American cooking. The richness and nutrients it contains, as it is rich in fiber, beta carotene and vitamin B, have been part of its growing reputation as a super-food, in that people are using all year long now in breads, muffins and rolls, with some even giving it to their cats and dogs as an aid in digestion. To the average person though, it means the beginning of fall.
The market for it is worth roughly 141 million in the U.S., with 80% of the sales occurring during the last three months of the year. In a typical year, the Nestle harvest, from Morton, Ill., it’s source for most of it’s supply, yields enough of the holiday treat to last a full year. Last year, the rains nearly doubled for that region, and the tractors got stuck in the muck and most of the crop rotted right in the fields.
Due to the problems with the harvest, the supply on some store shelves was already gone by Thanksgiving. Some profiteers were selling the stuff on eBay for as much as $6 to $7 dollars a can, several times the normal asking price, as supplies disappeared. The grocery chain Publix has since created it’s own store brand to help meet the demands. Some organic farmers also increased their shipments to stores.
This season, Nestle has announced it will be raising the suggested retail price by 20 cents a can to 1.79 for the 15 ounce can. The company stated that the increase is necessary to cover higher costs. It also stated that it had planted earlier this year, and also had planted extra this year. Harvesting is one third of the way through, as the weather has been favorable this year, and is expected to last throughout the harvesting.
That being said, for all of us lovers, the great Pumpkin Shortage is over, so rejoice, enjoy, and delight in the fact that you can go about business as usual this season for your canned pumpkin needs.