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Biggest Headline of 2009: Shortages — Some Real, Most Fake

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?

Image Source: Getty
Monique-Marie427757 Monique-Marie427757 7 years
The tomato shortage really threw me, I was bummed for almost a month because you could not get tomatoes anywhere in Ohio!
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
There was actually no canned pumpkin anywhere here near I believed that one. I hadn't heard that it wasn't true.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I didn't really notice any of the shortages personally. The price of avocados here didn't increase dramatically, so I suppose that's a good sign.
savorytv savorytv 7 years
It's so disheartening, but not surprising really. Sadly, pharmaceutical companies have been doing this for years, inventing psuedo "shortages" that drive up consumer prices. My guess is that the poor state of the economy has driven people to desperation, and that is why we are seeing more "shortages" this year. The best thing to do is to grown your own produce if possible, although that is next to impossible for city dwellers with no outdoor garden space. Wishing everyone, including the farmers, a prosperous new year for 2010.
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