One of the most tragic things about any crisis are the side effects that nobody predicted. However many contingency plans might be put in place, there are always unforeseen disasters lurking somewhere down the chain. So it has proved with Covid-19.
With all the devastation done to the restaurant industry, foodies could be forgiven for craving a hot slice of comfort in troubled times. However, even this is now in jeopardy, as coronavirus begins to claim a slightly surprising victim - pepperoni.
As the disease has forced every business to adapt, the meat industry has had to make sacrifices. In America, this has meant streamlining the production process, to the point where more time consuming and complex recipes have had to be sacrificed. Unfortunately, this now means that America’s favourite pizza topping is now in short supply.
In a recent report by Bloomberg News, it was revealed that pepperoni prices in North America have increased by up to 50% during the pandemic. In an economy where efficiency is paramount, the labour-intensive pepperoni production process has, according to one expert, left some pork processors with little option but to focus on other products.
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As Barry Friends, of Pentallect foodservice consultancy, put it:
“(Businesses) are basically just shipping out large pieces of meat for further processing. They’re not doing as much because they don’t have the people to do the work.”
What makes the situation even more complicated is that pepperoni has arguably never been in greater demand. Over lockdown, industry heavy hitters like Papa John’s announced record profits as greater numbers of people turned to pizza to help them through the pandemic. With pepperoni prices on the increase, this can only spell trouble for hungry customers.
According to Bloomberg, for the time being at least, the big chains remain protected from pricier spicy sausage. Fingers crossed that coronavirus won’t ruin one of the few remaining rays of sunshine in the food scene.