11 Foods That Basically Disappeared In 2021

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Thanks to lockdowns, bouts of illness, and lack of adequate working conditions, factories and delivery mechanisms have been severely understaffed as of late. This — along with rising gas prices, increased demand thanks to COVID habits, and a slew of other changes to our world — has created serious problems in the shipping industry. Supply chain issues are the hot topic of late 2021, affecting everything from Christmas tree sales to charitable gifting and creating widespread scarcity.

If you've been thinking grocery store shelves have looked empty lately, you're not wrong. This year made it clear that the pandemic was not going anywhere, and as the supply chain felt the heat, companies have had to drastically rethink their production strategies. According to CNN, while the name of the game used to be abundance and variety, food corporations have shifted to simply providing enough of the classics to keep up with demand. To put this in perspective, the ever-growing Kraft-Heinz nixed a remarkable 20% of its products at the end of 2020, and was only one of several major producers to do some cutting back. The result was thinned-out product lines, the sudden disappearance of niche flavors, and panicked calls from devotees of certain foods.

We searched the internet high and low for near extinctions, and are here to give you the update on some of your furloughed favorites. From ice cream to alternative milks and oh, so many chips, read on to see what foods barely made it through 2021.

1. Lay's Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips

Unfortunately for Frito-Lay fans, COVID-related supply chain issues forced the company to scale back production and focus on its top flavors. Dill Pickle, apparently, was not one of these flavors — although its absence was certainly felt.

Disappointed customers took to Twitter, asking Frito-Lay directly if their favorite chip had been permanently shelved. On August 13, 2021, one user frantically mentioned Lays, saying, "i'm a big fan of your pickle chips and i really hope they aren't discontinued because i never see them in stores anymore ..." The company responded three days later, stating, "We had to simplify our processes & have *temporarily* paused the production of this snack. We know that's disappointing, but rest assured, our plans are to start back production ASAP!" Although this was the first interaction of its kind, multiple other users went on to beg the company to reinstate their favorite snack.

Fortunately, it seems their prayers were answered. In a tweet on September 20, 2021, the company confirmed their plans "to start back production as soon as possible!" This tweet was a departure from previous ones, which had the snack marked as indefinitely on suspension. At the time of this writing, Dill Pickle Lay's can be found occasionally at Target, and in a very limited supply on Amazon.

2. Starbucks hazelnut syrup

Starbucks has also fallen victim to some supply chain issues, which have affected a total of 25 menu items. Many of the chain's stores have run out of drink components and food items, as well as cups, lids, and straws. There are some surprising inclusions on the absence list, including hazelnut syrup, one of the chain's more popular additions.

Customers are understandably upset, taking to social media to voice their concerns. "I just don't get how Starbucks has been out of hazelnut for 6 months," said one frustrated Twitter user. Others have pointed out how silly it feels that Starbucks is out of syrup when individual consumers can still purchase it from the store, like user one frustrated user who asked, "How the f*** the Starbucks inside Target run out of hazelnut syrup?????? GO GET IT."

Unfortunately, supply chain issues mean that although customers can purchase individual syrup bottles from large retailers, Starbucks restaurants cannot procure supplies in the bulk amounts needed to last them weeks or months at a time. If we're choosing to see the glass half full, this also means hazelnut devotees can still get their fix: the original and sugar-free versions of Starbucks hazelnut syrup are available on Amazon at the time of this writing. Do with that information what you will.

3. Oat milk

Oat milk has quickly become the second best-selling alternative milk, despite only really becoming popular several years ago. However, its sudden popularity comes with some downfalls. Namely, in the wake of 2021's widespread supply chain issues, the United States has faced a shortage of its new favorite beverage. Fans of Starbucks will have noticed this issue already, after the chain ran out of oat milk within the same month it was added to their menus.

Part of the great oat milk scarcity is the inability of Oatly, the top-selling brand by far, to produce enough product to fulfill demand. The company revealed in mid-2021 that they were only able to fulfill 70% of orders. Luckily, they are on the case, and have pledged to "increase production by 200% by the end of 2022."

However, drought conditions across North American oat farms could inhibit their progress. The United States oat crop of 2021 was the smallest it's been any year on record, with data going back to 1866. This small oat crop could make it hard for milk producers to get their hands on the grain, much less produce enough milk to outweigh demand, so shortages are expected to continue.

4. All Dressed Ruffles

The All Dressed Ruffles are a blend of ketchup, barbecue, and salt and vinegar all rolled into one. Although they are not so widely known stateside, they are a top favorite in Canada, and have a permanent home in pantries throughout the country. Unfortunately, the All Dressed Ruffles' popularity could not shield it from the effects of the pandemic, and the flavor was temporarily suspended in late 2020.

Dissatisfied customers took to Twitter, asking Ruffles when their favorite flavor would be back on shelves. Ruffles Support responded with the same message doled out by the other Frito-Lay support channels, saying they had "temporarily paused the production of this snack" with plans "to start back production as soon as possible."

At the time of this writing in 2021, they still have not come back to shelves (much to the confusion of American consumers, some of whom came to the conclusion that the flavor had been a "limited edition"). You can import the Canadian version off of Amazon if you are really jonesing, but even the foreign bags are back-ordered.

5. McDonald's shakes (in the UK)

It's not like the ice cream machines are ever working, anyway! Regardless, McDonald's restaurants across the U.K. have faced milkshake shortages in 2021. Thanks to a combination of Brexit- and COVID-related supply chain issues, McDonald's asked its supplier to stop delivering shake mixes so that it could "assure supply across its broader menu." Luckily, the chain made it through most of the summer before they made the call, but by the end of August, it was clear that something had to give. In addition to suspending milkshake mix deliveries, McDonald's restaurants across England, Wales, and Scotland were forced to take most bottled beverages off of menus.

A large part of the issue has to do with lorry drivers. According to CNN, by mid-2021 the U.K. was in short supply of nearly around 100,000 truck drivers. Of those drivers needed, around 20,000 are EU nationals who have moved out of the country following Brexit. Compounding the issue are new COVID regulations, which have strict requirements surrounding self-isolation.

6. Lunchables

Despite pausing production on 20% of their products to focus on the big sellers, Kraft-Heinz has not been able to keep up with Lunchables' demand. The popular snack packs — which often feature cheese and crackers, buildable mini pizzas, or other kid-sized versions of classic American meals — have been flying off the shelves, and as of late 2021, were becoming increasingly difficult to find.

As eating habits have changed over the course of the pandemic, the Lunchables line has seen demand double in just the course of five years, according to Today. Parents struggling under the pressures of the pandemic have likely fueled this growth as they search for easy and efficient ways to feed their children. This increased demand, coupled with supply chain issues, has resulted in Lunchables being more difficult to find.

Concerned fans took to the internet to share their concerns over the shortage. One person, commenting on a Lunchables Instagram post, complained, "Cannot find them at any store in my entire area. Getting ridiculous now." As the news made its way across parenting websites, panic began to swell, prompting Kraft Heinz to release a statement. In an email to TODAY Food, Kraft Heinz said, "We're actively investing in our supply chains and have teams working fast and furiously so our retailers and consumers can get more of the Kraft Heinz products they love."

7. Starbucks iced green teas

In case you haven't gotten the memo yet, Starbucks is facing some rough waters in 2021. Not only have they lost oat milk and fan-favorite syrups, but all four of their iced green teas are temporarily out of stock (the iced matchas are safe, thankfully). This shortage hit at a particularly bad time, June, the beginning of summer, and peak iced tea season.

As told by the New York Times, customers report visiting multiple stores searching for iced green teas, but to no avail. Most stores nationwide have been affected by the issue, and although different locations may have different things in or out of stock, it can still be very hard to find specific items in certain areas.

Fortunately, Starbucks seems to be sorting out the issue. One Twitter user shared an iced green tea sighting in early November, saying, "I came out of my social media hiatus to let y'all know @starbucks brought back the iced peach green tea lemonade. Y'all be blessed." Although the product may still be hard to find, it appears to be making its way back in stock. Just call the store before you go to avoid disappointment, and remember, it's not your barista's fault!

8. Coca-Cola with Coffee

Adding to their ever-expanding portfolio, Coke realeased a line of Coca-Cola with Coffee beverages in January of 2021. Everything you need to know about this drink is in the name — it's part canned coffee, part classic soda. The drink saw decent success after its launch, and seemed like it might grab a permanent spot in the beverage aisle.

Several months later, supply chain issues got worse and Coke had to make some tough decisions. The company announced in May that it was discontinuing Coke Energy, which had been released in January of 2020, to make room for better sellers — including Coca-Cola with Coffee. However, despite specifically naming coffee Coke in their statement as a product given top priority, customers began to notice its absence on shelves. One fan on Twitter asked the company straight up, "@CocaCola why cant i find coca cola with coffee anywhere?" Coca-Cola issued a prompt response, saying, "Due to extreme demand on certain products we are temporarily putting our focus on producing more of those beverages." In other words, despite initially being one of the saved, even coffee Coke was eventually put on indefinite hold.

If you're a fan of the beverage, don't fret. It seems like Coke has figured out some of their supply chain issues and ramped up production again on Coca-Cola with Coffee. At the time of writing, the product locator on the Coke website shows the beverage's vanilla version in stock at several major retailers (although it's still missing from quite a few).

9. Grape-Nuts

At the beginning of 2021, Grape-Nuts were very hard to find. So hard, in fact, that its absence was classified as a veritable shortage. Fans of the cereal looked high and low for their favorite healthy breakfast, but when they couldn't find it, they got creative. A Grape-Nuts black market soon arose, with resellers on sites like Amazon selling boxes at an extreme markup. The New York Times reports one reseller peddling a four-pack for nearly $60 — that's $15 a pop and a 300% price increase!

Luckily, it seems all the chaos surrounding Grape-Nuts has subsided. For one, the product returned to stores in March, and by the end of the month, the shortage was declared over. Secondly, there was some financial relief for those who overpaid, as Grape-Nuts began offering reimbursements. As a thank you to their loyal fans, the company started a payback program. As reported by AARP,  if a customer paid over 10 bucks for a box, they could be eligible for a refund of up to $115. While paying over $100 for a box of Grape-Nuts may have seemed obscene at the time, the cashback program makes it seem worth it in the end. Who knew!

10. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Sammie

Ben & Jerry's is known for its plethora of wacky flavors. From the decadent swirls of Chocolate Therapy to celeb-backed puns like Americone Dream, the variety of interesting mix-ins is largely responsible for the company's success. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, they became part of the problem.

In an email to a supplier during September of 2021, the company behind the ice cream stated that "labor shortages continue to drive a limited ability to meet demand." Because of their inability to meet production goals, they continued, certain flavors would be put on indefinite pause. One unfortunate victim of this tragedy was Ice Cream Sammie.

A somewhat recent addition to the lineup, the flavor was added for the summer of 2019 and quickly rose to become a fan favorite. It features vanilla ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookie chunks and swirls — basically like an ice cream sandwich made into a pint. Distraught fans took to Twitter, pleading with followers and Ben & Jerry's alike to help them find their favorite flavor. Ice cream fan Kyle Lohr seemed particularly panicked, saying, "Yall WHERE is this flavor? It comes and goes so fast because it's the best cookies and cream flavor ever to be made but impossible to find. HELP." Sorry, Kyle, but we've got some more bad news. At the time of writing, Ice Cream Sammie has not made a return to stores.

11. Doritos Spicy Nacho

Another victim of the great Frito-Lay scaledown, the Spicy Nacho Doritos have been missing from store shelves in 2021. Customers are not happy, and have begun reaching out to Doritos via social media. One Twitter user asked the company, "are the original 'spicy nacho' Doritos discontinued? I can't find them anywhere.." Another said they "literally jumped for joy at our local No Frills upon discovering a single bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos. We have noticed a scarcity lately. What's with that??"

Luckily, Doritos confirmed that the pause in production was only temporary, and as of March of 2021, the snack was "back in action!" Doritos clarified that the product "has a limited distribution for now," but claim that it is "working diligently to ensure availability returns to normal ASAP!" It seems the chip company came through on its promise, and the chips are available in stores and on Amazon (for now at least). Hooray!