Have You Noticed The Rice Krispies Shortage? Here's Why

Photo credit: Roberto Machado Noa
Photo credit: Roberto Machado Noa

Empty grocery store shelves, especially around major holidays, have become a hallmark of the pandemic. Valentine’s Day was no different for one Twitter user, who’d hoped to whip up some Rice Krispies Treats in celebration. Alas, things didn't work out.

“[I] went to 3 different stores to find the cereal only for the shelves to be wiped clean,” @beckittyy tweeted with clear exasperation. “[Tell] me why online I see there's a d*mn SHORTAGE.”

Similar sentiments abound across social media. People in the U.S. and Canada are finding empty cereal aisles and tweeting their frustrations online. They all have the same question: Where’d the Rice Krispies go? Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing shortage.

The Kellogg’s Strike That Started It All

Back in October 2021, 1,400 Kellogg workers walked off the job on strike over union negotiations. The strike lasted 71 days until December of 2021, when both sides agreed to a new five-year contract. Because the strike lasted so long, some Kellogg’s products, including Rice Krispies, have been in short supply as the company tries to catch up with production.

An Ingredient Shortage With Bad Timing

The strike isn’t the only reason for the shortage. The pandemic is also to blame: Disrupted supply chains have made it difficult to secure a wide range of food products, and rice—obviously one of the main ingredients in Rice Krispies—is one of them.

In 2021, rice production in the U.S. fell well below the year prior, dropping 16 percent from 2020 and driving up the cost of the 2021 rice crop. This year’s price tag for medium grain rice, the variety used in Rice Krispies, “is projected to exceed last year’s [price] by about 15 percent,” said T. Randall Fortenbery, a professor at the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University.

Fortenbery also pointed out the increased cost of packaging and material shortages of cardboard and wax paper—a.k.a. the things that make a cereal box—as likely contributing to the Rice Krispies shortage. All of these things have conspired to drive up the price of your favorite cereal—a pinch some consumers are already feeling.

Twitter user @Imkita_N puts the general sentiment succinctly: “I want to faint every time I see the price of original Rice Krispies 🥺🥺🥺.”

When Will It Be Over?

Kellogg’s has responded to these tweets, admitting to a “temporary shortage of Rice Krispies” because of “supply constraints in manufacturing.” The company promises that it’s working as fast as it can to get shelves restocked, but there’s no estimated date for when production will get back to normal. In the meantime, Kellogg’s recommends using the “Where to buy” tool on its website, which indicates if a product is in stock in your area. But to save yourself the trek around town, we recommend calling your local shop directly.

Perhaps Kellogg’s can take cues from its competitor, Post Consumer Brands, which faced a similar issue back in January when a Grape-Nuts shortage prompted an online outcry from die hard fans. About a month later, Post Consumer Brands announced plans to ramp up production to return an adequate supply of boxes to shelves by mid-March.

We can only hope the issue will be sorted out ahead of Easter, so we don’t have a shortage of Mini Egg Rice Krispie Treats. That would be too much to bear!

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