Juice Box Shortage Affecting Stores Across the US

Juice boxes are a surprising new victim of the supply chain issues gripping the United States. Supermarkets in New York began running low on the lunchbox necessity this week, thanks to a mix of a smaller-than-expected apple crop and shortages of bottles and juice boxes. Like almost every other aspect of life, the global supply chain has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Like many retailers, we are seeing some shortages on juice boxes and bottles of juice as suppliers are experiencing labor, logistics, and packaging challenges due to COVID-19," Stop & Shop spokeswoman Maura O'Brien told the New York Post. "Additionally, juice suppliers have noted that volatile crops this past season has in part created a shortage on apple concentrate."

Some of the companies behind the juice boxes children love are now focusing on some flavors that might be less popular because they can be made easily, O'Brien said. "Cranberry-based juices and cocktails are not reporting any crop or product supply issues," she told the Post. Capri-Sun and Kool-Aid will resume production on some of their drinks soon, she said.

Production of Carpi-Sun drinks has been affected by a shortage of apple and pear juice, and straws, which are usually attached to the drink pouches, Kraft Heinz spokeswoman Stephanie Peterson told Newsday. Still, sales of the drinks have jumped 30% in 2021, and the company is investing $25 million to increase production, Peterson said.

Less than 67% of juice box products were available in stores last week, compared to 89% last year, Krishnakumar S. Davey, president of strategic analytics at IRI, told Newsday. The overall stock of juice products in stores was at 82% last week, Davey explained. Unfortunately, demand has jumped 20% since more children are back in school.

The global supply chain disruptions began early last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, notes the New York Times. At the time, the countries where much of the global manufacturing is — like China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam — were hit the hardest by the coronavirus. Many factories were closed while employees were sick, leading to shipping companies cutting back on their shipping schedules. They gambled that there would be a decrease in demand for goods, but they were wrong. The supply chain disruption could continue into 2022.