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Apparently, the Coronavirus Is Coming for Our Pizza Toppings

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Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

“I’ll just hunker down and ride this out,” you said. “I’ll just call the pizza guy and get my vital nourishment delivered,” you said. But the coronavirus comes for everything that’s good.

According to a report from Bloomberg, independent pizza parlors all over the United States are experiencing pepperoni shortages and price hikes as the covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on meat supply chains.

The spread of coronavirus has directed attention to the dangerous working conditions at meatpacking plants and the disregard industry executives have for their employees’ health. As the U.S. saw the possibility of fewer hamburgers looming in the near future, President Trump ordered meat processing facilities to remain open. Now, we may need to adjust our expectations for what makes a perfect pizza pie.


Bloomberg spoke to various owners of small pizza shops around the country who reported varying price increases for their pepperoni supplies. Charlie’s Pizza House in Yankton, South Dakota, for instance, is paying $4.12 per pound of pepp today versus $2.87 per pound last January. Another South Dakota pizza purveyor said that shortages had forced them to switch from their traditional pepperoni brand. Emily, a shop in New York City, said its costs have gone up from $4 a pound last year to $6 today.

We’re not running out of pigs, but according to a Bloomberg source, the meat processing industry has been avoiding the costly and time-consuming process of producing pepperoni. Barry Friends, a partner at foodservice consultant Pentallect, told the outlet that producers just aren’t “doing as much because they don’t have the people to do the work.”


Pizza chains have shown huge upticks in business since the pandemic started, and if you’re a fan of the major nationwide brands like Domino’s and Papa Johns, you should still be able to get all the pepperoni you want. Bloomberg points out that those types of franchises typically have long-term contracts with suppliers that have predetermined prices. As for your local mom-and-pop parlor, well, they might have to raise prices or just convince people that they’ve been looking at anchovies all wrong.