The Real Reason You Can't Find Grape-Nuts Anymore

Some people are frantically searching store shelves, wondering why they can't find their favorite box of breakfast cereal. Others wonder what the fuss is all about. Grape-Nuts haters may be shocked to hear this, but the wholesome and exceedingly crunchy cereal appears to be the latest food item added to the list of COVID-19 pandemic shortages.

The New York Times spoke to Grape-Nuts' brand manager Kristin DeRock, who didn't mention the pandemic specifically but said the shortage was due to high demand for the cereal "during this time," and she added that Post Consumer Brands was finding it "difficult to shift production." Post, makers of Grape-Nuts, also addressed the shortage on the Grape-Nuts website. Apparently, Grape-Nuts lovers were fearing the worst. "We would like to inform you it has NOT been discontinued," the website said. 

Several food and beverage companies have altered their production routine during the pandemic. Coca-Cola, for example, stopped making about half of its products (via FOX 10 Phoenix), cutting out low-selling items to make room in production for higher-demand, more profitable brands. Post did something similar last fall with Grape-Nuts Flakes, according to The New York Times. Post told a customer on Facebook that the flaky version of Grape-Nuts might become scarce "due to adjustments in our production schedules to ensure the items in highest demand are available."

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It's hard to know for sure, but maybe Post decided to use its Grape-Nuts Flakes equipment to churn out more Fruity Pebbles. But the company couldn't respond so easily to the increased demand for original Grape-Nuts during the pandemic. Grape-Nuts are made in a unique way, DeRock told the Times. In other words, the equipment that makes Honeycomb, or any other Post cereal, can't be converted into a Grape-Nuts machine.

While some people on Twitter wondered why anyone was making a big deal out of the Grape-Nuts shortage — "Does anyone even like Grape-Nuts?" one user asked — others suggested loved ones were in crisis without the cereal in their lives. "My husband adores Grape-Nuts with an indescribable passion. He has been beside himself to find empty shelves of said item," Susan Reed said on Twitter.

People who are desperate enough are finding Grape-Nuts online, where the law of supply and demand is in full effect. As reported in the Times, a four-pack of Grape-Nuts boxes was selling on Amazon for $60. Each box normally retails for $5. For Grape-Nuts fans who have friends in the U.K., it may be cheaper to ask them to ship it. Twitter user Theo Blackwell tweeted a Grape-Nuts sighting from Surrey: "No #grapenuts shortage here."

The people at Grape-Nuts reassured fans, saying on the cereal's website that they expect to return Grape-Nuts "to most store shelves" in March.