Pepperoni, America’s most beloved pizza topping, is getting ever-more expensive to obtain amid production snags at meat plants and high demand for pizza. Small pizza shops across the U.S. are reporting higher prices and tight supply for their usual pepperoni orders.
At Charlie’s Pizza House in Yankton, South Dakota, manager Nick Johnson has seen prices steadily increase from $2.87 a pound in January 2019 to $4.12 now. At New York City’s Emily, chef and co-owner Matthew Hyland is paying $6 a pound, up from $4 earlier this year. Earlier in the pandemic, restaurants experienced high prices and shortages for other meat toppings, like ground beef.
But while beef’s spike appears to be easing, pepperoni prices have remained high. Barry Friends, a partner at foodservice consultant Pentallect, said the ingredient’s labor-intensive process and low profit margins have made some producers say “screw it” as they streamline operations amid the coronavirus.
Pork processors “are basically just shipping out large pieces of meat for further processing,” Friends said. “They’re not doing as much because they don’t have the people to do the work.”