Supply chain crisis could create popcorn shortage

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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) — Salty, buttery, and now in short supply: popcorn. Concerns are growing for businesses as the traditional go-to cinema snack faces shortages in cinemas.

John Watzke, owner of the Ocala Drive-In Theater, says popcorn is a staple for his business.

“My guests will have a variety of things to choose from, but the popcorn is traditional,” Watzke said.

Popcorn isn’t the only item likely to run out. Watzke said he’s had trouble finding containers for his food items in the past, including lids, cups and popcorn bins. John said having items like popcorn and containers is essential because the majority of drive-thru profits come from the concession stand.

Despite the supply chain issues, Watzke says he won’t raise the prices of his menu items and will do his best to keep the movies memorable.

“I go to every extreme possible to make sure my guests have all the products they’ve always enjoyed at the drive-in.”

He believes better days are ahead and points out that his business has prevailed during other times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The shortage will end like all other shortages in this country and things will return to normal sooner or later.”

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says it doesn’t know why the popcorn shortage is happening. But, according to national media, farmers are growing less maize in favor of more profitable crops, which could be the reason for the shortage.

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