Hot Cheetos Fans Are Freaking Out Over A Possible Shortage

Nothing sparks panic like the idea of a snack food shortage. Grocery stores started stockpiling Ritz crackers and Oreos earlier this fall when it looked like various worker strikes would cause supply issues, per The Wall Street Journal. Customers also had a hard time trying to find Lunchables recently, as the demand for the snack reportedly outpaced stocks (via Today). Now, buyers may have one more item to worry about next time they go on a grocery run — or at least, that's the case according to a viral Twitter thread.

"There's a Hot Cheetos Shortage in the U.S right now," the tweet proclaimed (without evidence), adding, "This shortage is mainly because of increased demand and tightening supply. Some stores are putting limitations on how many you can buy." Desperate replies came flying in, including one commenter who posted a picture of a bag of hot Fritos and claimed, "I been to the gas stations everyday looking. And this is what I'm stuck with." Another commenter wondered, "Chips isnt something that's essential why are they limiting how many as if the world would crash if they ran out." 

We should reiterate that outside of social media claims like these, there is no actual evidence of a shortage on any of the "hot" Cheetos line, including Flamin' Hot, Flamin' Hot Limon Limón, or XXTRA Flamin' Hot. Nor is there evidence of stores limiting purchases. And, in fact, speculation over the spicy snack's retail stockpile has been going on for a while. 

Are hot Cheetos actually hard to find?

Back in September, which apparently feels like years in this time of alleged hot Cheeto scarcity, one Redditor over in r/Sacramento worried that a certain kind of hot Cheetos completely left the area. They posted a picture of the product with the title, "Extra Extra Hot Cheetos Wiped out. Has anyone seen these or know what happened to them? they seem to be vanished from the Sacramento area. and if you seen them can you please let me know. thank you." While there were more unsubstantiated replies about "a chip shortage because of supply and labor issue," a hero did emerge. "Just saw them this morning at grocery outlet in lodi," the Cheeto-locator wrote, generously adding, "Want me to buy them all for you after work?" 

As we've said, a flurry of social media posts doesn't necessarily prove or disprove a hot Cheetos shortage. Per Labor Notes, even the recent Frito-Lay (Cheeto's parent company) strike in Topeka, Kansas only resulted in temporary "shortages of certain products" in "stores in the area." Beyond that, Frito-Lay announced in October 2021 that it had "[hired] nearly 15,000 frontline sales and supply chain employees" throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and was "actively" hiring over 5,000 more "through the end of the year." 

Long story short? If you're having trouble finding your favorite cheesy, crunchy, tongue-scortching snack, the problem likely won't last very long.