While you were grocery shopping last year, did you notice any of your go-to items missing from store shelves? I’m not a particularly brand-loyal shopper, so I wasn’t as affected by product line interruptions—or I was just so hellbent on getting out of the store that it didn’t matter as much. CNN reports that some products that had temporarily disappeared throughout the pandemic last year are now returning to store shelves.
From May to July 2020, the average number of items in grocery stores decreased by 4.5%, according to Nielsen data. (This is in comparison to the same timeframe in 2019.) But now that number is climbing back up, with an addition of 2.5%, or 19,825 items back on store shelves. During the apex of the pandemic last year, manufacturers pared down many of their product lines in order to focus solely on what sold the most, which meant some not-so-hot-ticket items had to be cut.
Smucker’s, for example, had to (temporarily) kill its secondary varieties of Jif peanut butter, such as Omega-3 (that’s a thing?), Reduced Fat, and Simply Jif (the more “natural” version with less sugar). The Uncrustables product line also got trimmed somewhat, with less popular varieties like Reduced Sugar, Hazelnut, and Peanut Butter & Honey all put on pause. All these items have now made a triumphant return to shelves, and brand-new product launches, which had been pushed off 2020 entirely, are also back in full force.
McCormick has also replenished its suspended items and has added new hot sauces, seasoning blends, and frozen appetizers. But now, in addition to restoring and expanding product lines, companies are shifting the design of their products to meet new demands, since more people are working from home rather than inside a cubicle.
“It’s important that we deliver additional solutions for lunchtime and away-from-home snacking,” Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills, told CNN. So if you’ve seen a whirlwind of new snacks out there, you know why. And who doesn’t love a good snack?