First Toilet Paper, Now Mason Jars Disappear From Store Shelves

People looking to ferment their fresh foods may have difficulty finding a proper container, and hipsters may have to forgo their favorite drinking glass this winter. Oregon is experiencing a mason jar shortage due to hoarding.   

Unlike the toilet paper shortage in March and April, the glass jar shortage in Oregon is a casualty of two events – the pandemic and last winter’s snowstorm, nicknamed the  “Snowpocalypse” or “Snowmageddon.”   

The over 18 inches of snow caused a surge of power outages and kept people from going out for nearly a week, especially those who lived in more rural areas. The incident caught many residents unprepared, fearing they may not have enough dry or canned food to sustain them.  

The fear left many determined not to find themselves in a similar position this winter. So mason jars have been flying off store shelves in unprecedented demand, and the price has increased accordingly, the Register-Guard reported.   

“I was actually there at the time of one of these incidents at a local Bi-Mart. One gentleman was there during one of their big shipments coming in and he bought every [canning[ lid that came off the truck,” Denise Fennell, the program director for the Master Food Preservers Program for Home Food Safety and Preservation of the Oregon State University Extension Service, told the Register-Guard.   

The last jar shortage of this magnitude occurred during the economic recession in the 1970s, according to a History, Art & Archives study. Over 25 million households in America were reported to have canned food in 1975. Now Americans are returning to the age-old activity.  

The shortage is not solely influenced from Oregon’s snowstorm, however. States across the county have reported a lack of mason jars, according to CNN. It cited the cause as the fact that people have turned to baking and cooking during the quarantine.   

“I call it ‘Sourdough 2.0’ – it was the next craze of what people are doing in the kitchen because they have extra time,” Marie Bregg, the owner of an online retailer, Mason Jar Merchant, told CNN.  

By Jessica Goddard