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Ingredients could run low again with holiday baking, COVID-19 cases on rise

Posted at 9:11 PM, Dec 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-06 22:35:46-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Angie’s Bakery in Virginia Beach has been serving up Filipino favorites for more than three decades.

Bakery owner Ken Garcia Olaes said demand for the tasty treats is high and some of the baking ingredients he uses have been tough to find in grocery stores.

“I’ve noticed with my usual aisles there will be a shortage on certain things, like my yeast will be low, or my flour would be low,” said Garcia Olaes.

Lockdowns at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a baking boom inside home kitchens with flour, yeast and other items flying off store shelves.

With the rise in with COVID-19 cases and holiday baking season underway, grocery expert Karen Frame said we could see that happen again as more people stay home, fire up the ovens and stock up on supplies.

“With the recent spike in COVID-19, people are becoming more concerned about going into the grocery store, so they’re trying to go in less frequently, so they’re buying more,” said Frame. “As they’re buying more, more products are coming off the shelf and not getting restocked.”

Karen Frame is the CEO and founder of Makeena, a free mobile app that helps people save and earn money on certain groceries.

She said sales in the baking aisle have recently surged with yeast sales growing 647 percent. Still, Frame said customers won’t necessarily see a shortage, but a demand issue and higher prices for staples.

Frame recommends that people stop buying in bulk and use substitute ingredients.

“It’s really important that you are open to how you are buying your products or ingredients and shop at places that you wouldn’t normally shop,” Frame said. “Be open to generic; be open to alternatives. Make sure you’re keeping your shopping list simple. Make sure you plan ahead; know your route, get in, get out….Don’t overbuy, because that’s going to help everybody.”

Garcia Olaes said he’s noticed the jump in product prices and how his distributor has been sending him a different brand of sugar.

“They would substitute it for a different brand; almost every other week it’s a different brand of granulated white sugar,” he said. “My mozzarella cheese has gone up a lot. “We make pepperoni bread here and I get pretty expensive cheese already, but I noticed it had gone up $30 a box.”

Either way, he said he’s making it work as best he can as the bakery continues to power through the pandemic.

“We have to always think creatively,” Garcia Olaes said. “We have to pay more attention to something else that we’re selling that we could produce more of. We have to network our sources.

Whether it’s getting creative in the kitchen or out, Garcia Olaes and many others are just trying to get through the harsh year.

Garcia Olaes said, “I knew it was important for us to produce and keep our business open.”