Everything You Need To Know About The Rice Krispies Shortage

Whether you eat it for breakfast every morning or use it to make marshmallowy treats for special occasions, if Rice Krispies is your go-to cereal it may be a while longer before you hear that snap, crackle, pop. While all cereals have been in shorter supply than normal since the start of the pandemic, Kellogg's Rice Krispies have been hit especially hard. Post's popular cereal Grape Nuts was also heavily affected for several months, but by March 2021, USA Today reported the shortage officially ended. Rice Krispies loyalists, however, are still waiting for their turn.

With frustration building and hardly any blue boxes in sight, customers are now taking to Twitter to express their concerns. "What is going on with @ricekrispies? They haven't been in stock in [a lot] of stores in over 6 months!" one customer tweeted. "We are having a Rice Krispies shortage. The world as we know it is no longer. @KelloggsUS help!" another added. Wondering what the deal is with Rice Krispies lately? Here are all the answers you're looking for.

How did the Rice Krispies shortage happen?

You may have noticed the cereal aisle cleared out during the peak of the pandemic, but October 2021 is when it got particularly bad for Rice Krispies. That's when CNN Business reports 1,400 Kellogg employees went on strike to demand better wages, health care, and retirement benefits. "For more than a year throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Kellogg workers around the country have been working long, hard hours, day in and day out, to produce Kellogg ready-to-eat cereals for American families," said union president Anthony Shelton. Workers that went on strike were based in Kellogg factories in Omaha, Nebraska and Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Battle Creek, Michigan. According to Insider, these are the Kellogg factories that produce — you guessed it — Rice Krispies.

The strike eventually ended in December of the same year, but as Market Realist explains, 77 days of no one making Rice Krispies was enough to set back production and eventually lead Kellogg's to announce a temporary shortage on February 5.

When will the Rice Krispies shortage be over?

Despite the fact that the Kellogg's strike is over, Rice Krispies is still experiencing production issues, which means the shortage is still ongoing. That's largely due to the supply chain crisis affecting the food industry as a whole, Market Realist shares. But the way it's affecting Rice Krispies specifically has to do with the supply of barley malt extract, one of the main ingredients in the cereal. The 2022 barley crop isn't ready for harvest, so in the meantime, North American companies (including Kellogg's) have to source barley malt extract from Europe and Australia.

On top of barley malt extract being in low stock, Delish also points out there's also both a shortage and price increase of cardboard and wax paper, the materials used for cereal box packaging. With Rice Krispies already having experienced significant delays in production because of the pandemic and the worker strike, Kellogg's is having difficulty keeping up with consumer demand. Only until the 2022 barley crop is ready will Kellogg's be able to bounce back.

Are any Rice Krispies flavors being discontinued?

It may have been a while since you've seen a fully stocked shelf of your favorite Rice Krispies variety at your local grocery store, but the good news is that Kellogg's isn't discontinuing the cereal any time soon. The brand confirmed in a February 11 tweet responding to a concerned customer that the shortage is only temporary. "We're still making Frosted Rice Krispies. However, due to supply constraints in manufacturing, there is a temporary shortage," Rice Krispies said in the tweet. "At this time we don't have an estimated date on when it'll [be] back in stock, but we're working as fast as we can to get back on store shelves."

In the meantime, to keep customers in the loop and save them a trip to the grocery store, Kellogg's has a search function on its website where you can look up whether your favorite Rice Krispies cereal is in stock near you. Rest assured, Kellogg's wants you to have Rice Krispies as much as you do.