In life, things change. While the grocery store is, for the most part, a pretty reliable place to get your food, there’s no telling which brands will be on the shelf. You never know which brands have gone out of business, which have been found to be problematic, or which are experiencing a shortage. Whether it disappeared because of the pandemic or simply because the world lost interest, here are 10 Foods That Basically Disappeared in 2020.
First off, we want to say that we’re so sorry to be reporting this. If you grew up in the 1990s to the late 2000s, you’ll remember Dunkaroos. For those who aren’t familiar or those who simply didn’t have much of a sweet tooth during those times, Dunkaroos were two snacks in one. On one side, you had the cookies. On the other side, you had the frosting. And when you dipped the cookies in the frosting? Well, it was absolutely magical. If you had one of these bad boys in your lunch boxes, you were royalty. Unfortunately, even though Dunkaroos gave many people good memories, the company can’t be held up by nostalgia alone. Much like childhood, Dunkaroos slowly faded away. Many of its fans grew up and lost their sweet tooth, or simply realized how unhealthy they really were. Parents became more health-conscious, and as a result there was a decline in sales. Sadly, General Mills, the manufacturer of Dunkaroos, closed up the Dunkaroo program in 2012. But, in the summer of 2020, it was announced that these nostalgic treats would be making a comeback. The only problem was that they didn’t. Many Twitter users complained that despite the promises made, no one could find Dunkaroos at their local stores. We can’t know for sure what happened, but if we had to guess, we’d probably say that it has something to do with the fact that General Mills was one of the many companies that were struggling amidst the pandemic. Oh well, we can always still hope.
9. Frozen Pizza
This one is pretty self-explanatory. While stuck inside under these circumstances, it can be hard to get the motivation to do, well, anything really. Even though it seems you should be able to get tons of things done with all this extra free time, that isn’t taking into consideration the stress of living in our current situation. Plus, if money is tight, buying a bunch of ingredients to make your own pizza just isn’t feasible. People are tired, and tired people need pizza. So, it’s not surprising that frozen pizzas are flying off the shelves of grocery stores all over the country. Cheap, easy to make, and yummy to eat, frozen pizzas are perfect for hungry people who are lacking the energy or resources to do it themselves. And though there’s a lot of debate over the healthiness of frozen pizzas, as well as the quality, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t convenient. Plus, let’s be real, some frozen pizzas are actually really good. That is if you can find one in your local grocery store. In April, it was reported that frozen pizzas had become something of a rarity, despite dramatically increased production nationwide. A four-week measure of the situation from late March into early April showed that Americans bought a whopping $275 million worth of frozen pizzas in that time. That’s a lot of pizza! To those customers who got their hands on one of the elusive frozen pizzas: we’re jealous, but glad you got a nice meal.
Stuck at home during the pandemic, many people turned to their kitchens to seek comfort or simply to develop new skills. And when we say many, we mean many. A single glance and TikTok or Pinterest shows you just how many people have taken up baking bread and all the creativity that they’ve been putting into it. However, all of that baking meant that for the first few months of the pandemic, flour was nearly impossible to find. While this was frustrating for people who simply wanted to try out trends like frog bread, there was actually a silver lining for small flour mills like King Arthur Flour. The relatively small flour milling company has been in continuous business since 1790 and was already known for high-quality goods. In early 2020, they experienced an upswing in orders so massive that their sales rose more than 2,000 percent. This period was so busy that, for a time, it was difficult for them to fulfill orders, as it was for many other flour producers and distributors throughout the country. So, King Arthur and other companies like it have had to up their production and distribution network game. It’s times like these where we’re glad the market shifts to accommodate the needs of the people because now we can go back to doing what’s important: finally using that sourdough starter.
7. Canned Soup
In these stressful times, who couldn’t go for a nice bowl of warm soup? It’s the best comfort food, hands down, and boy oh boy, do we need comforting. Well, soup is fun and dandy, but some people just don’t have the time to make it from scratch. This is probably why so many people turned to canned soup. Quick and easy, all you got to do is heat it up, and you’re done! But, as the pandemic raged on, that option became a little more difficult because the manufacturers of canned soup became overwhelmed. There were reports that shortages of canned soup were still happening in the fall. General Mills, which makes Progresso soup, stated that it hadn’t yet caught up to demand for the canned stuff, along with other products like cake mix and prepackaged dough. That same situation rings true over at the Campbell Soup Company, which has also struggled to keep up with the amount of soup consumers have been packing into their shopping carts. Soup manufacturers are still struggling to keep up with the demand, so canned soup may be harder to come by than you want it to be. If you want something warm to fill up your belly, your best bet may be to make it yourself. It’s a beginner-friendly meal for new cooks that can also be a hearty, warming dish in the cold winter months ahead.
6. Craft Beer
While there wasn’t an overall alcohol shortage this year, there was a certain subclass that was hit pretty hard during the pandemic. We’re talking, of course, about craft beers. Craft brewers are defined as small, independent, and traditional, and they’re in danger. Because many craft brewers are small local businesses, they don’t have the same financial resources as other, bigger companies. That’s why you might have noticed that some of your favorite craft beers aren’t on store shelves anymore. It’s been reported that, among the breweries polled, more than 60 percent had to throttle back their production, while just under 30 percent had to stop making beer entirely. The Brewers Association echoed these findings, saying that their members have seen a precipitous drop in sales over the past year. That meant layoffs, furloughs, and sluggish production, largely because of social distancing measures that have kept taprooms closed. Even if you’ve tried to buy beer from other retailers other than the brewery, chances are good that you’ve seen fewer brews from local makers. Unfortunately, this means that many have already stopped the production of their craft beers, while others may be next in line. If you have a favorite local brewery, now may be a good time to find ways to support that business. Otherwise, it may not survive.
5. Costco Sheet Cake
Anyone who’s tried Costco sheet cake has probably fallen in love with it immediately. Whether you had it at a friend’s birthday party or your own, it never fails to please. This delicious miracle tastes good no matter was flavor you get, and for parents looking for a quick and easy way to make their kid’s birthday extra special, it’s perfect. Plus, the fact that it’s less than $20 makes it hard to say no. Unfortunately, it looks like these sheet cakes are going to be gone for a while. This isn’t because Costco is no longer able to make them, but because of the pandemic. Costco decided to cut back service in a few crucial areas to limit employee contact, and so the sheet cake had to go. This is all understandable, but it’s hard to imagine a birthday party without it. But there’s still good news. By July, some customers were reporting that these beloved cakes were coming back. Now, that’s no guarantee that you’ll find the same near you. As Costco told reporters, the sheet cake was still shuttered for the time being. For now, let’s simply say that this sign is enough for us to believe that this sheet cake shortage is not forever.
As we mentioned before, being holed up at home during the pandemic saw many people turn to their hobbies, new and old. Coupled with the initial panic-buying at the beginning of the pandemic, people were concerned about how to feed their families. So, they took up baking. It’s time-consuming, fun, and results in a tasty end-product… Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do it? Apparently, a lot of people had the same idea. Because of this uptick in new bakers, key baking ingredients started disappearing from grocery store shelves, leaving disconcertingly empty spots in their wake. There have been reports that, even in the waning months of 2020, when suppliers have had time to respond to demand, flour is still in relatively short supply. We already talked about how flour was in low-supply, but bread takes more than flour. You also need yeast, the microscopic fungi that helps your dough rise. However, much like flour, yeast has also been disappearing at alarming rates. Not only has the increased need for yeast made manufacturers struggle to keep up, but there’s also been shortages of the packaging, which has production even more behind. Wondering what to do if you can’t get your hands on some good old fashioned yeast? Well, you could always grow your own bread starter. But, that takes extra time and involves constantly babysitting your starter. It will also give you sourdough since wild yeast has bacteria piggybacking on it that adds an extra flavor punch. If that’s not your style, however, you may have to wait and enjoy some flatbread in the meantime.
3. Oat Milk
Ah, oat milk. A perfect addition to smoothies and cereals for people who don’t want to consume dairy products. Under normal circumstances, it’s not hard to imagine that trendy food items like oat milk would be flying off of the shelves. But this year, things have taken an extra turn. Because of the pandemic, people want to make sure that their pantries are full. While people started with flour, beans, and toilet paper, they eventually got bored of stocking up on those plain every day items. So, they turned to oat milk. Early on in the year, sales for the non-dairy beverage skyrocketed as people throughout the United States and beyond prepared to shelter in place for an unknown period of time. Unfortunately, when everyone’s taking as much as they can, it leaves others without anything at all. There have been reports that the shortage of oat milk was still ongoing in various markets in the spring. The rise of oat milk in coffee shops as a non-dairy alternative undoubtedly led many newly-minted home baristas to seek it out as they tried to recreate their favorite coffee shop favorites with copycat recipes. Oatly, one of the more popular brands of oat milk, has since ramped up production, meaning that some who missed their trendy not-milk, have hopefully since, seen it reappear in their grocery’s cold case.
2. Odwalla Smoothies
Undoubtedly, smoothies are one of the easiest things to make at home. If you’ve got a blender or food processor, all you need to do is throw a bunch of things inside a press a button. That being said, not everyone has access to blenders and food processors, which means that bottled smoothies are the perfect alternative to turn to. For those who don’t have the time or resources to make their own smoothies, Odwalla Smoothies was a relatively healthy treat to pick up while you were on the go. But, that might not be the case for long because it looks like parent company Coca-Cola is discontinuing this sweet treat. The reason? Well, because it was sweet. On average, these beverages contained somewhere between 30 to 50 grams of sugar. That may have put consumers off, considering the growing push for less refined, more overtly health-conscious offerings. Coca-Cola’s attempt to put out a “Zero Sugar” version of Odwalla didn’t seem to help matters, and sales continued to plummet. The company couldn’t figure out a way to make it cost-effective, and so it was taken off of shelves for good.
Before you worry, it’s clear now that meat has made a comeback at the grocery store and local butcher shops. But for a few months of 2020, some people were disappointed to find that their favorite cuts of meat were nowhere to be found. This is because meat supply chains were heavily impacted by the pandemic. Workers in meatpacking plants, often crammed together in tight quarters, were disproportionately infected, leading to numerous plant closures. This, in turn, created a bottleneck in the supply chain, where the remaining plants that were open simply couldn’t process meat fast enough. Meanwhile, farmers had to make some tough decisions about whether or not they could keep feeding their animals. If they continued to be fed, they could grow too large to go through most processing plants. This meant that for everyday consumers, meat was hard to come by which resulted in higher prices. Luckily, meat has returned to the grocery stores, and in some cases there’s even been an overproduction. However, a decreased demand for meat and overproduction due to the supply bottleneck has led to plenty of sales as a way to move product out the door. So, for those carnivores who were deprived of meat, it’s your lucky day!