A holiday favorite is in big demand and short supply this year, as peppermint is more difficult to find. That includes one of the holiday’s most enduring sweet items: candy canes.
The low supply of candy canes is due to global supply chain issues, such as shortages of drivers, back-ups at delivery ports and shortages of service workers.
It’s a trend that started before the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shortages. Peppermint production has gone down roughly 25% over the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“I’ve been to three different stores looking for candy canes, and everyone is out of the traditional peppermint variety,” says Erin Williams of Detroit, Michigan, speaking at a local Kroger. “So far, all I can find are the strange flavors of candy canes, and I’ve been looking for a few days now. I’ve never had this much trouble finding regular candy canes. It seems like it should be a Christmas staple.”
According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), candy canes are the most popular non-chocolate candy during the month of December. Most of the candy, roughly 90%, is sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The biggest sales week for candy canes is usually the second week of December. A whopping 1.76 billion candy canes are produced in the United States each year.
According to candy stores, even though there isn’t a lot of peppermint this year, the candy canes they do have are difficult to keep in stock.
Before the traditional red-and-white candy canes made their debut, candy canes only came in one color: white. For 200 years, canes were while and didn’t get their stripped look until the turn of the 20th century, according to the NCA. Also, did you know there’s actually a National Candy Cane Day? It’s is celebrated on Dec. 26 in the United States.