It it just me, or was 2009 the year when America ran out of food? From avocados to sugar to pumpkin to wings, it sure seemed like it. With the economy still in the throes of a deep recession, prosperity in the US was lacking in every sense of the world.
Right off the bat, California farmers anticipated having the smallest avocado crop of the last decade or two. A few weeks later, a major wing supplier reported stock levels would be far below average, causing the price of chicken wings to soar nationwide. In August, food companies feared import limitations would lead to a global sugar shortage, and by Thanksgiving, heavy rains were predicted to cause a crunch with canned pumpkin, a holiday favorite. But skeptical, savvy consumers pondered how many of the year's groundbreaking shortages were real issues — and how many were mere marketing ploys.
Despite cautions from the California Avocado Commission, most of us ate guacamole at Cinco de Mayo. Food activist Marion Nestle famously went on The Colbert Report to explain how the sugar shortage was a crisis manufactured by food companies to get the government to drop food tariffs. And that canned pumpkin crunch? It wasn't reflected on supermarket shelves.
While a few of the headlines — like the chicken wing shortage — seemed plausible, I wonder how many of them were exaggerated. What's your take?