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HomeNational NewsNationwide Pepperoni Shortage? Say It's Not So!

Nationwide Pepperoni Shortage? Say It’s Not So!


Is there really a nationwide pepperoni shortage? Unfortunately for pizza lovers everywhere, yes, although it’s not affecting the larger chains, at least not yet.

According to Bloomberg, pepperoni is becoming “scarce,” due to the coronavirus pandemic? Why? Apparently, there’s a shortage of workers at pork processors, causing problems with production.

Yeah, we know. COVID-19 has changed so much in society. Did it have to affect pizza too?

Bloomberg says that the price of pepperoni has risen 50%. As a result, owners of small pizza shops are having to pay more for their pepperoni, the site reports.

USA Today reports that the shortage is affecting small pizza shops not large pizza chains because the chains “buy ingredients with long-term contracts.”

Pizza Sales Have Skyrocketed During the Pandemic But That Was Before the Nationwide Pepperoni Shortage

Pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni pizza. Credit: public domain pictures.

A lot of things have suffered during the pandemic. Pizza delivery sales are not among them. Pizza sales rose to “unprecedented levels” last spring, with Papa John’s International pizzas reporting a 28% increase in sales, Fortune reported. Domino’s recorded “its highest second-quarter revenue ever,” according to Fortune.

Pepperoni isn’t the only thing running scarce; the nation has even seen a shortage in coins as well as Clorox disinfectant wipes. And we all remember the runs on toilet paper.
According to Fox News, pork processors have had fewer workers because of the pandemic and pepperoni is “a complicated meat product to make,” so less is being produced, affecting the pepperoni supply chain.

Pepperoni rates as one of the most popular pizza toppings in almost every state, including Wisconsin, where we apparently like sausage and mushrooms on our pizza too, according to Delish, which compiled a state-by-state ranking of most popular pizza toppings.

Meat and poultry processing plants have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States, according for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Among 23 states reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in meat and poultry processing facilities, 16,233 cases in 239 facilities occurred, including 86 (0.5%) COVID-19–related deaths,” a study shared by the CDC reported. “Meat and poultry processing facilities face distinctive challenges in the control of infectious diseases, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 outbreaks among meat and poultry processing facility workers can rapidly affect large numbers of persons.”

It wasn’t just pork. There were meat shortages reported throughout the United States earlier in the pandemic, but some signs that they were abating. Some Subway restaurant franchises stopped carrying roast beef and rotisserie chicken as the meat shortages continued, however, upsetting customers.

Jessica McBride
Jessica's opinions on this website and all WRN and personal social media pages, including Facebook and X, represent her own opinions and not those of the institution where she works. Jessica McBride, a Wisconsin Right Now contributor, is a national award-winning journalist and journalism educator with more than 25 years in journalism. Jessica McBride’s journalism career started at the Waukesha Freeman newspaper in 1993, covering City Hall. She was an investigative, crime, and general assignment reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a decade. Since 2004, she has taught journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work has appeared in many news outlets, including (where she is a contributor reaching millions of readers per month),, WTMJ, WISN, WUWM,,, Milwaukee Magazine, Nightline, El Conquistador Latino Newspaper, Japanese and German television, Channel 58, Reader’s Digest, Twist (magazine), Wisconsin Public Radio, BBC, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and others. 

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