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Welcome to the Thomas Index Report for the week of July 5th.
Last month, Starbucks made headlines when the global coffee chain was hit with a series of shortages in stores, including things like bakery items, single-use coffee cup lids, flavored syrups, and oat milk.
While we’ve talked in recent Index Reports about how other restaurant chains like Popeyes, KFC, and Burger King also experienced supply chain challenges last quarter, those fast food brands were mainly dealing with just a single major shortage — chicken or pickles, for example. But Starbucks’ situation, where multiple key products were unavailable simultaneously, is a more accurate microcosm of the current state of the national — and even global — food and beverage supply chain. Shortages are no longer just affecting a single product, but rather whole swathes of the sector.
Also, remember that these product shortages can have broader impacts than just affecting a single store offering. Caramel-flavored syrup, for example, is not just a single ingredient that’s temporarily unavailable. That syrup is used in a variety of drinks, meaning that instead of removing just one thing from its menu due to unavailability, as they would if something like blueberry muffins were unavailable, Starbucks would have to remove from its menu any drink that features caramel syrup as a foundational ingredient.
These Starbucks shortages are reflected in the recent sourcing activity we’re tracking on the Thomasnet.com platform. Our data shows that sourcing for food flavorings has jumped 122% year over year and is up 57% over Q2. Demand for individual foodservice packets, for things like sugar or other sweeteners, ketchup, or butter, has gone up 131% year over year and 57% over last quarter figures. Searches for single use food container and coffee cup lids are up 80% year over year, similar to take out food container sourcing, which is up 57% year over year.
Despite these widely discussed missing items, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says that the shortages were not actually as widespread as media outlets had reported. Most notably, he said in a recent interview, there was “no shortage of coffee,” which aligns with what we’re seeing on Thomasnet.com. While other categories have spiked substantially over Q2, sourcing for coffee has remained relatively stable over the past few months, indicating that available supplies are matching demand.
I’m Tony Uphoff, and this is the Thomas Index Report.
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