Food blog

Vanishing Act: Foods That Basically Disappeared In 2020

Foods That Will Have Basically Disappeared By 2020

Food shortages, in their mildest form, are a frustrating situation. You head to the store, hoping to find your favorite snack or some basic ingredients for your next elaborate meal, only to be greeted by empty shelves. It may have happened here and there before, but few of us in the United States have experienced the kind of food shortages we’ve seen in 2020.
This year hasn’t given us an easy time when it comes to certain foods that have disappeared from stores, shops, bodegas, and more. Granted, it could be a lot worse, the BBC notes, because food supply chains are notoriously complicated and prone to failure. Catastrophic disruptions can lead to real food shortages and, in the worst cases, even famine.

The disappearance of flour

For experienced home bakers and budding breadmakers alike, the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic brought additional challenges. As they braved the grocery store aisles, many noticed some seriously empty shelves. In fact, some shoppers found it nearly impossible to find flour.
The flour shortage may have been frustrating, but it had a silver lining for companies like King Arthur Flour. According to Marker, the relatively small flour milling company has been in business since 1790 and was already known for its high-quality goods. In the early 2020s, they experienced an uptick in orders so massive that, as Adweek reports, their sales increased by more than 2,000 percent. During this time, they were so busy that they, like many other flour manufacturers and distributors across the country, had a brief period of difficulty filling orders.

The canned soup shortage

While some people with stay-at-home orders turned to extra work in the kitchen to keep busy, others turned to simpler solutions. No judgment here, because sometimes you just want a simple meal that is practically ready to go when you pull it out of the pantry. However, this option also became a little more difficult as manufacturers of things like canned soup were overwhelmed.
MarketWatch reports that shortages of items like canned soup were still occurring in the fall. General Mills, which makes Progresso soup, said it hadn’t yet caught up with demand for the canned stuff, along with other products like cake mix and prepackaged dough. The same is true for Campbell Soup Company, which has also struggled to keep up with the amount of soup consumers are putting in their shopping carts.

The Craft Beer Battle

Thankfully, we haven’t experienced a total beer shortage this year, but you may have noticed some of your craft favorites missing from the stores. That’s because breweries, especially smaller ones with less financial cushion than the big guys, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Statista reports that of the breweries surveyed, more than 60 percent had to cut back production, while just under 30 percent had to stop making beer altogether.
The Brewers Association echoed these findings, saying its members have seen a precipitous drop in sales over the past year. This has meant layoffs, furloughs, and sluggish production, largely due to social distancing measures that have kept taprooms closed. Even if you’ve tried to buy beer at a brewery, chances are you’ve seen fewer brews from local producers.

The Absence of Costco Sheet Cake

People have long been in love with the phenomenon that is the Costco pie. For devotees of the wholesaler, they are a kind of delicious miracle. Never mind that they only come in chocolate or vanilla. They are, by all accounts, delicious. Not to mention the fact that you can snag one in a matter of minutes, or a few more if you want them custom-decorated. That, plus their under $20 price tag, is incredibly hard to beat.
Well, until recently. Not because Costco has encountered a competitor in the grand arena of grocery store cupcakes, but because it has come up against none other than the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York Times reports that Costco made the decision to limit service in some locations to help employees limit exposure. It’s an understandable decision, given the need to keep people safe, but it was still hard to swallow.

The Elusive Dunkaroos

If you happen to be of a certain age and in possession of a dedicated sweet tooth, you may remember the heyday of Dunkaroos. The cookie and icing combo was wildly popular in the 1990s and proved to be the crown jewel in a child’s lunchbox. But the snack was doomed to a slow, lingering demise, at one point buoyed only by the sheer force of nostalgia.
Alas, even that nostalgia for a lost childhood could only keep Dunkaroos afloat for so long. That, and the

The Elusive Dunkaroos (continued)

fact that they were only available in a few places. In 2020, General Mills, the company behind Dunkaroos, decided to bring back the popular snack. However, the rollout was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many fans were left waiting in anticipation.
But fear not, Dunkaroos lovers! The cookie and frosting combo eventually made its triumphant return to store shelves, giving fans a taste of nostalgia and a reason to celebrate. Dunkaroos’ comeback was met with excitement and joy as people once again indulged in the sweet and nostalgic treat.

The Uncertain Future

While some of the missing foods have made a comeback, others are still struggling to return to the market. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact global supply chains, causing disruptions in the production, distribution and availability of various foods. It is a challenging time for producers and distributors as they navigate through the complexities of the situation.
As consumers, we may need to exercise patience and flexibility when it comes to our favorite foods. It’s important to remember that these shortages are not permanent and efforts are being made to restore the availability of these products. Supporting local businesses and being open to trying alternative options can help ease the strain on the food supply chain.
In conclusion, 2020 was a year that saw the disappearance of several food items due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. From flour and canned soup to craft beer and popular snacks like Dunkaroos, the impact on the food industry was significant. While some foods have made a comeback, others are still working to reestablish their presence on store shelves. As we navigate through these uncertain times, it’s important to remain patient, support local businesses and adapt to alternative options. Together, we can overcome these challenges and enjoy our favorite foods once again.


The disappearance of certain foods in 2020 was primarily caused by disruptions in the global food supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sequestration, restrictions, and increased demand led to challenges in the production, distribution, and availability of various foods.

Have all the disappeared foods made a comeback?

While some of the disappeared foods have made a comeback, others are still working to reestablish their presence on store shelves. The availability of these foods depends on the efforts of producers and distributors to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Have there been any long-term effects on the food industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the food industry. It highlighted the vulnerability of the global food supply chain and the need for more resilient systems. The industry has adapted to new practices and measures to ensure the continuity of food production and distribution in the face of future disruptions.

What can consumers do in the event of a food shortage?

During food shortages, consumers can exercise patience and flexibility. They can support local businesses, explore alternative food options, and try new recipes using available ingredients. It’s important to be mindful of food waste and make sustainable choices to ease the strain on the food supply chain.

Will food disappearance happen again in the future?

While it is difficult to predict the future, efforts are being made to improve the resilience of the food supply chain. Lessons learned from the 2020 disruptions can help prepare for and mitigate future challenges. However, unforeseen circumstances and global events may continue to impact the availability of certain foods in the future.

How can individuals contribute to a more resilient food supply chain?

Individuals can contribute to a more stable food supply chain by supporting local farmers and producers, reducing food waste, and adopting sustainable food practices. Being aware of consumption habits, advocating for resilient food systems, and participating in community initiatives can all help create a more stable and sustainable food supply.

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