Oh, the humanity: Soon we the people of Earth will be floating adrift on icebergs, left to survive solely on trail mix, melted snow, and green juice — or so a recent string of reports on food and beverage shortages would seem to indicate.
End of days
In the world's top olive oil producing country of Spain, prices of the essential greenish-gold elixir have "surged to near an all-time high," says Bloomberg. "Hot, dry weather" had a negative impact on this season's harvest; add to that Italy's recent bout of diseased trees and a fruit-fly infestation and the end result is that "prices for Spanish extra-virgin olive oil rose 5 percent last week to $4,272 a metric ton, the highest since April 2006 and near a record." Stockpiles are at "critically low" levels, so perhaps now would be a good time to consider alternative lipids for your vinaigrettes.
San Antonio, Texas is a hotbed for Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, and according to KENS5 the city fears it could suffer a local shortage of one essential ingredient: cilantro. The FDA recently banned importation of cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, a major supplier. Several cases of the food-borne illness cylosporiasis have been attributed to the herb in recent years, and during a recent investigation the FDA found "objectionable conditions" at 8 farms in Puebla. (A shortage would also presumably affect other areas that source cilantro from Mexico, though San Antonio seems to be the only city sounding the alarm thus far.) Local restaurateurs say they're now having to buy cilantro from California and "the increasing demand has already driven up costs significantly," though Texas grocery chain HEB says "they are not seeing an impact."
At least they've got Vegemite?
Nutella lovers in Australia may soon be declaring the end of days, as the continent's love for the chocolatey hazelnut spread has triggered a nationwide wholesale shortage. GoodFood attributes the supply drought to two "milk bars" (think cafes) that have recently popularized Nutella-filled doughnuts. Manufacturer Ferrero "has confirmed that commercial-size three-kilogram plastic tubs of Nutella are out of stock, with a new shipment from Italy not due until August 7," and some restaurants say they're desperate to get their hands on the stuff. (At least they've always got Vegemite?)
On a much more serious note, Smithsonian.com reports that the nation of Venezuela is damn near out of beer, thanks to strict import laws that are preventing breweries from obtaining necessary ingredients like malt and barley. "In an attempt to subdue out-of-control inflation, the Venezuelan government now forces companies doing international business to use U.S. dollars instead of the Venezuelan bolivar," but plummeting oil prices have made said dollars a scarcity in the country. Besides the relatively minor indignity of not having any beer to drink, a large-scale industry crisis could have a massive economic impact, potentially costing the country "over 400,000 jobs."
While the impending beer crisis in Venezuela and America's current egg shortage certainly have major economic implications, premature freakouts over a lack of Nutella and Mexican cilantro seem a bit overblown — and thankfully for sparkling wine lovers, recent hubbub over a global prosecco shortage turns out to have been mostly unfounded.