If you do any canning you know that there is an ongoing canning jar shortage in 2020. It started this summer and reached a peak around the middle of August. Canning jars and lids supplies are low, and are still not available in some brick and mortar locations. The shortages are serious enough to have been recently reported on online platforms like CNN and NPR.
The main acccepted reason for the canning supplies shortage is that people are staying home and cooking more due to COVID-19. The recent shortages in other products, along with concerns about food shortages may have contributed. People are feeling the need to have a supply of non-perishable food on hand in case it is not available on grocery shelves. Some folks are claiming that the shortages experienced during July and August are currently not as severe. Availability is apparently somewhat dependant on location. While some people report full stocks of jars and lids, others say the shelves are bare where they live. Worker absences in jar and lid manufacturing due to COVID-19 could also be contributing to low supplies. Some jar manufactures have reportedly had to shut down at times…
Luckily there are other ways to preserve harvests besides canning. Freezing and dehydrating are available for those who are unable to get enough home canning supplies. Sales of economical food dehydrators that can process large amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits are widely available.
The chart above shows interest in “canning Jars and “home canning” over the last 5 years, from Google Trends. You can see the 4x increase in searches for “canning jars”. This interest peaked during the middle of August 2020. Interest in “home canning” also grew, although to a lesser degree.
In addition to the shortage of canning jars and lids, reports of poor quality lids that make jar sealing difficult have appeared recently. Second rate manufactures of lids are taking advantage of the shortages. It is a good idea to check customer reviews of lids, especially from new or off-brand manufacturers. Regular canning lids should be used only once. A re-used canning jar lid increases the possibility of jar contamination by harmful bacteria. Contamination can even lead to increased risks of botulism. Reuse of regular lids is not a good idea.
Signs that the canning jar shortage of 2020 going are away here. This is evidently true in at least some locations. Certainly people will be increasing their canning supply stocks after this experience. Hopefully this will not happen again in 2021. However the possibility does exist for even more severe shortages. Shortages of not only canning supplies but food and other items may arise as well. Stay prepared.