More than half of Americans say pepperoni is one of their top three toppings of choice on pizza, one of the country's core national dishes. A slice of pepperoni tastes like everything from childhood sleepovers to a celebration at work. Thanks to the pandemic, however, it may become a little scarcer for a while.
Industry groups are reporting that the price of pepperoni has gone up for pizza shop owners by up to $2 per pound, a significant increase if you're a small business already struggling through COVID-19. Part of this comes down to the meat processing supply chain: The factories which supply the pork and beef which goes into pepperoni have been centers of the outbreak from the beginning, and are processing less meat to keep workers as safe as possible. Even grocers are limiting some customers in how much meat they can buy, given the sometimes catastrophic mismatch between supply and demand.
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This all fits in with a larger trend of the cost of groceries going up overall nationwide. If you're trying to figure out how to buy meat more conscientiously, it helps to understand how to navigate the baffling array of labels that can come with it. If you'd rather do an end run around the entire issue, there are ways you can work more vegetarian options into your diet or even trick yourself into craving more vegetables with your shopping list. Meat is likely to keep changing as we move forward anyway — keep an eye out for deepfakes, fungus steak, and yes, even bugs on the dinner tables of the future.