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Why is there a shortage of canned soda pop in Canada?

Why are Canadians having trouble locating their favourite brand of soda pop in a can?.
Why are Canadians having trouble locating their favourite brand of soda pop in a can?. Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

You may have been to a grocery store and searched for a 12-pack of your favourite soda pop, only to come up empty-handed.

Like other dilemmas faced by Canadians since mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic is to blame, according to beverage peddlers.

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“The beverage industry, like the entire consumer product sector, has been impacted by many new pressures due to COVID-19,” said Jeff Rutledge, a spokesperson for the Canadian Beverage Association.

When the pandemic first began in March, many people switched from purchasing bottles of pop at the store or drinking fountain pop at restaurants to taking home 12-packs to drink with lunch or dinner.

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As the shutdown happened with pretty remarkable speed, it left no time for pop manufacturers to prepare for the sudden shift in consumer demand.

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“All aluminum cans are in tight supply due to heavy demand for multi-pack products consumed at home,” said Kristen Jimenez, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola.

Her company has been forced to prioritize which brands it uses due to the limited number of cans.

“We have had to shift our resources toward producing more products with the highest demand,” Jimenez said. “Here in Canada, those brands include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Nestea and AHA.“

There may have already been a stockpile in place of certain other brands pre-pandemic so this leaves consumers of products like Diet Canada Dry hunting for their beverage of choice.

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Coke is not alone in having to make these choices, though, according to Rutledge, whose organization also includes Pepsi and A&W, among dozens of others.

“While our members are implementing contingency plans to mitigate these challenges, including aluminum can supply, some products will be temporarily unavailable in some places,” he explained.

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Rutledge said members he has spoken to have ramped up production in a bid to get more product on the shelves and erase the backlog.

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“Our members are working hard to get the products people want on store shelves as soon as the circumstances allow.”