Everything You Need To Know About 2021's Lunchables Shortage

If one wanted, one could probably design a novelty calendar with each month displaying the latest shortage in the supermarket. A contender for August or September's model would be a box of Lunchables, or, more accurately, the empty shelf space where the desired pre-made snack lunch should be.

The shortage was felt back in August and depicted in an image shared on the ShiptShoppers subreddit, which featured an empty shelf at Hy-Vee with a sign saying, "There is currently a shortage on Lunchables Snacks. We apologize for the inconvenience." This state of affairs continued into September, prompting people to exclaim in the comments section of a Lunchables Instagram post, "Please restock all stores that sell your product because nobody can find Lunchables any more across the US!!" Another wrotem "What is going on with the Lunchables[?] I can't find any in New York."

While someone could always DIY their way out of the shortage with Ritz crackers, American cheese, and spam, the disappearance of Lunchables snacks still posed a problem for parents who wanted to send their children off to school with a fun, pre-packaged lunch.

Why was there a shortage?

Lunchables are a very specific product. Unlike toilet paper, for example, it appeals to a specific demographic during a specific time. So it is strange that it should suffer from a shortage.

When Today picked up on the story, they gave a nod of acknowledgement to the various ways that the global supply chain has been strained during the coronavirus pandemic. However, they also reported on the alternative theory: That after so many months of making lunches at home, parents simply wanted to send their kids to school without having to make any more lunches.

The second theory might have some credibility because, according to a statement provided to Today by Kraft Heinz, the late summer of 2021 saw a demand for Lunchables unlike anything they saw in recent years. "Compared to 2019, nearly 2 million more households bought Kraft Heinz brands in the second quarter of 2021... Lunchables is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in 5 years," they stated. In other words, everyone suddenly wanted to buy Lunchables at the beginning of the school year. It seems quite the coincidence if some exasperation over making lunch was not involved.