Maybe it's only fitting that a pandemic that rapidly brought on hoarding and shortages of toilet paper would eventually lead to one of America's best-known high-fiber cereals disappearing from store shelves.
Post Holdings confirms to CBS MoneyWatch it is currently unable to keep up with the country's increased appetite for its Grape-Nuts cereal. The St. Louis-based food company also offered reassurances that it's not pulling the plug on the 120-year-old brand, as some have speculated on social media amid instances of grocery store shelves with not a box of Grape-Nuts in sight. Grape-Nuts should be back on store shelves in the spring, Post Holdings promised Friday.
"People may continue to see shortages and temporary out-of-stocks on Grape-Nuts as we continue to work through supply constraints and higher cereal demand amid the pandemic," Kristin DeRock, Grape-Nuts brand manager, said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "First and foremost, we want to make sure that Grape-Nuts fans know that we have absolutely no plans to discontinue Grape-Nuts cereal."
With more Americans eating at home, their consumption of Grape-Nuts increased as well, and making more of the densely crunchy, whole-grain wheat cereal is more complicated than one might think, according to its maker.
"Grape-Nuts is made using a proprietary technology and a production process that isn't easily replicated, which has made it more difficult to shift production to meet demand during this time," DeRock stated in her email.
First introduced in 1897, Grape-Nuts' sudden lack of availability brought out a round of hand-wringing among its fans on social media, and bewilderment by others that such a product exists.
The Grape-Nuts website helpfully states that Grape-Nuts "actually contains neither grapes nor nuts." The name may have come from the cereal's resemblance to grape seeds, or from its nutty flavor and distinctive crunch, the site suggests. Its main ingredient is whole-grain wheat flour that packs a potent seven grams of fiber per half-cup serving. No sugar or corn syrup to be found — just malted barley flour, salt and dried yeast filling out the rest of the ingredients list on a box.
Grape-Nuts joins a list of products that have seen far higher demand during the pandemic, with Clorox wipes not expected to be available for months and a thirst for normalcy prompting a run on holiday trees, among other things.