High demand for baking ingredients amid COVID-19 putting pressure on local grocery stores
REGINA -- With more people staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning to baking as a way to pass the time and cut costs.
The increase in baking is making it difficult for some grocery stores to keep their shelves of yeast and flour full.
There are five Old Fashion Foods stores in Regina, and all of them have been experiencing more demand for baking supplies.
“Just a huge influx of people coming in asking for any kind of flour we carry, and yeast obviously has been the big thing,” Sarah Vanderveer, the sales manager of Old Fashion Foods said.
Vanderveer said every time the store is restocked with yeast, it’s gone again just as fast.
Homemade bread has been especially popular during the pandemic. Food expert CJ Katz said it’s become a common item to post on social media.
Katz said in her years of cooking and baking, she’s never experienced a yeast shortage. She added it’s likely because people are realizing this pandemic could last a long time, and people are trying to budget for it.
“You can make a loaf of bread for pennies, compared to the dollars that you’d buy a fresh loaf,” she said.
Katz said she’s noticed the shelves looking scarce for items like flour, sugar and even chocolate chips as well.
If you can’t find yeast in stores, Katz says it is possible to make it at home.
“It’s flour and water, and watching that bubble away for a week or so,” Katz said. “There’s all kinds of recipes and videos online on how to make sourdough, and that would become your yeast.”
Old Fashion Foods is doing its best to keep their stock full, and the stores are leaning on each other for products when they run out.
Despite the demand, Vanderveer sees the increase in baking among shoppers as a positive.
“They have a lot more time at home with family, so they’re putting that to good use,” she said. “They’re finding the silver lining.”