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Gluten free and specialty health foods hit hard by supply chain crisis

Gluten free and specialty health foods hit hard by supply chain crisis

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – People with dietary restrictions are now having to spend more and be more careful than ever because of a shortage in specialty health food items.

“Sometimes one of those ingredients that goes into our flour, will be gone. Like tapioca starch has been in really short supply since November, through the busiest time of year we didn’t have tapioca starch that we could easily get,” said Jennifer Kinkade, the owner of Dedicated gluten free bakery and coffee shop.

She has never seen prices so high for necessities in her store. The price has tripled for ingredients like tapioca starch.

“The flours are one of the hardest things right now. So, when you’re talking about getting those flours, the prices are higher so their products are higher. So, gluten free way always expensive, but I think it’s even more expensive now,” she said.

The prices at dedicated have increased due to shortage, but she says it’s only a fraction of the increase they’re paying for the ingredients. It’s a price she’s willing to pay for the customers that rely on them. Supply chain expert Ken Gyure says this industry is getting hit in a way that he’s never seen before.

“There’s been some warnings put out to make sure that people are using certified gluten free foods, only because what they’re finding is famers have really been, due to labor shortages, been prioritizing their crops,” he explained.

Gyure says, for these companies to continue to make product, they’re using things that aren’t 100% gluten free. This means items in stores that used to be gluten free may only be mostly gluten free.

“For specialty foods in many cases, like gluten free, people buy that for a reason, for a health reason. That’s not changing. Between that and the heightened demand, you’re seeing prices escalate just because people can’t get it,” he said.

Gyure says this doesn’t mean that people need to hoard these specialty items, but it’s not a bad idea to stock up when you come across them.

He expects that this industry won’t get back to normal until the labor crisis is resolved.

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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