No whipped cream on top? Manufacturers brace for a potential shortage

Dive Brief:

  • A fatal explosion at an Airgas Nitrous Oxide Corp. plant in Cantonment, Fla. in August has resulted in an industry-wide shortage of canned whipped topping, according to the Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago-based food manufacturer Conagra Brands, the makers of popular whip cream Reddi-wip, confirmed its supply of nitrous oxide was affected by the blast and stores might be limited during the peak of holiday season. 
  • The plant's supply of nitrous oxide, which is also used for medical purposes, has built its supply back up, but accommodating medical patients is the priority, not food manufacturers. 

Dive Insight:

The news that canned whipped cream may be in short supply this holiday season is slowly starting to creep into the news cycle, but many food blogs are championing the idea of consumers making their own. A simple Google search will turn up thousands upon thousands of recipes for the popular hot chocolate and dessert topping.

Last year, a somewhat similar situation occurred with a shortage of canned pumpkin, and manufacturers of that product — just as whipped cream manufacturers are expected to do — carefully managed their distribution channels and allocated enough to their retailers to keep everyone happy during the holiday season. The real problem was a continued shortage of the product after the holidays, and that’s something that the whipped cream industry could experience as well.

Several whipped cream companies have yet to comment on the apparent shortage, but the folks behind Reddi-wip asserted that they still have plenty of the product available for now, and that it’s most likely to impact the months ahead.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Marketing
Top image credit: Paul Downey