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Here’s why canned corn might be tough to find at supermarkets

How coronavirus will change how we grocery shop

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey discusses the surge in sales from delivery services and how trends will change after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Add canned corn to the list of supermarket staples that have become elusive amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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The pandemic has roiled the supply chain for canned sweet corn in several ways, meaning it might be tough to track down at your local grocery store, a new report says.

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Sweet corn grown for canning already made up the smallest portion of the US’s corn crop, and it’s only harvested once a year, meaning the supply reaped each summer has to last for months, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That meant retailers burned through their inventories in the spring as the pandemic led American consumers to stockpile large amounts of shelf-stable goods, the paper reported Wednesday. Sales of canned corn indeed surged more than 47 percent from last year’s levels in the 23 weeks ending Aug. 8, according to Nielsen data cited by the Journal.

Big canning companies Del Monte and Green Giant tried to get farmers to plant more corn because of the pandemic, but sweet corn growers had mostly made their plans for the year already, the report says.

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There have also been problems transporting the golden veggies — trucking companies slimmed down their fleets last year, leaving too few trucks to handle a huge surge in demand at the onset of the virus crisis, the Journal reports. And some deliveries have been delayed as transportation firms rejected contracts and took last-minute orders that paid higher prices, according to the paper.

Corn is just the latest grocery item to reportedly suffer from coronavirus-related shortages. Supplies of beef, toilet paper and even aluminum cans have also been strained amid the pandemic.

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