Pumpkin Shortage May Cut Down On Dessert Seconds

fromWFCR

That slice of pumpkin pie you enjoyed on Thanksgiving could be the last you'll see for awhile. Distributors are warning that this year's poor pumpkin crop means that canned filling is in short supply. You may need to diversify your pie plans for the rest of the holiday season.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And today's Last Word in business is taste great, less filling. And by less filling, we mean less filling. You should savor today's leftover pumpkin pie because it could be the last for a while.

Fred Bever of member station WFCR reports.

FRED BEVER: Bad weather in the Midwest has cut by almost a third the availability of pumpkin pie fillings sold nationally under the well-known Libby's label.

Roz O'Hearn is a spokeswoman for the Nestle Company, which owns the Libby's brand. She says the company contracts with Illinois farmers to grow pumpkins are more than 6,000 acres.

Ms. ROZ O'HEARN (Spokeswoman, Nestle Company): And this year, when the rains came, the rains just kept coming and the fields have become so saturated that we were not able to get in and pick up thousands of acres of pumpkins. Our tractors and our big trucks were sinking in the mud way up over their axles.

BEVER: Nestle recently sent a notice of the shortage to retailers. At the Big Y supermarket in West Springfield, Massachusetts, store director Jeff Hamill says his stock of pumpkin pie filling should hold out through Christmas. Still, his family has stocked up.

Mr. JEFF HAMILL (Store Director, Big Y): Fortunately, I had the inside scoop on that we were going to be short so I did give my family a heads up to secure their pumpkin pie through the store, so they did and they picked up what they needed for baking needs. Absolutely.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BEVER: Some commercial pie makers, meanwhile, say they got their supply in early.

For NPR News, I'm Fred Bever in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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