Pepperidge Farm admits supply trouble could be brewing.

In a year full of hardship, tragedy, and challenge, shortages of everything from meat to yeast have reminded us that we're living in strange, strained times. Though we're now in the home stretch as the last few weeks of 2020 mercifully melt away, it seems that one more food supply issue insists on kicking us while we're down once again. This time, not even Santa is safe.

According to Bloomberg, Campbell Soup Co., the parent of cookie maker Pepperidge Farms, says we could be on the cusp of a cookie crisis. Milanos could be missing from shelves. Cheesmen could be wiped out across the board. Getting Bordeaux, Brussels, or Tahiti cookies could prove as challenging as traveling to those destinations this year. 

Campbell Soup to support GMO labeling
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The reason has to do with the now-familiar misalignment between supply and demand created by Covid-19. Pepperidge Farm is faced with "supply constraints" in the division, including labor shortages that diminish the number of cookies they can produce. To make matters even more complicated, Campbell keeps all of its Pepperidge Farm production in-house, meaning they have to sort things out themselves. 

"This portfolio is unique with proprietary recipes, and therefore we do not outsource production," Campbell told Bloomberg in a statement. "We've prioritized increasing supply and are already leveraging capacity opportunities across the network to meet increases in demand and maximize availability."

On the demand side of the equation, we're all staying at home and eating more cookies. A Top Data survey cited by Bloomberg suggests that nearly 40% of folks are eating at least 48 cookies a month these days, so you can bet they've been flying off the shelves faster than they normally would. Pepperidge Farm has experienced "sustained and very strong demand," with sales up 8.7% in the 13 weeks leading up to November 1, and industry demand has surged 25% over the pandemic as a whole. 

So if you're thinking of leaving out some Milanos for Santa this year, maybe ration them a bit more carefully than normally. The big guy's gotta eat, but we deserve to hang on to some of the treats for ourselves.