Post #G21-025: Demonstrating the scope of the canning lid shortage via a random sample of Walmarts

I first wrote about the 2021 canning lid shortage in March (Post #G21-003).  The number of hits on that posting continues to ramp up, suggesting that, if anything, the lid shortage may be getting worse.

But how bad is it?  How often are canners across the U.S. going to their local hardware or other stores and finding empty shelves where the lids ought to be?  Am I getting hits from a few scattered localities where lids are unavailable?  Or is this really a nation-wide shortage of lids? Continue reading Post #G21-025: Demonstrating the scope of the canning lid shortage via a random sample of Walmarts

Post #G21-020: Not-really-a-shortage of canning lids in my area. But not normal, either.

This relates back to post #G21-003, regarding a shortage of canning lids.

A month ago, people across the U.S. were having trouble finding lids for home canning.  That included my neighborhood, Vienna, VA.  These lids are single-use items, and they simply were not on store shelves.  U.S.-made name-brand lids normally cost something like a quarter each, for wide-mouth lids.  And nobody had them for anything near the “normal” price.

At that time, my guess was that when manufacturers started shipping for the 2021 canning season, this problem would be solved.

And as of 4/18/2021, it looked like the shortage was over (Post #G21-013).  Around here, at least.  The shelves had been restocked and you could buy as many as you wanted at the normal price.

I spoke too soon. That happy situation only lasted about three weeks.  Now, it’s hit-or-miss as to whether my local suppliers have lids on the shelf. Continue reading Post #G21-020: Not-really-a-shortage of canning lids in my area. But not normal, either.

Post #G21-013: Ball canning lids are back in stock.

The Canning Lid Shortage of 2021 may be over.  For now, at least.

I heard a rumor, via my wife, that canning supplies were back in stock in the  southern Maryland town where a friend of hers lives.  The local hardware store there hung a big banner in the window to advertise that they had canning jars in stock again.

Today, I decided to check my local grocery store.  And sure enough, what was a moth-eaten display of 2020 leftovers a week ago is now perfectly and fully stocked. Continue reading Post #G21-013: Ball canning lids are back in stock.

Post #G21-010: Ball lid shortage and Tattler lids

Edit on 4/16/2021:  There’s now a little addendum on yet other non-Ball lids, and other re-usable lids, available as alternatives to Ball disposable lids.

This is my third and probably last post on the 2021 canning lid shortage. I’m going to use it to talk about Tattler lidsI bought some back in 2011, and I’ve used them off and on since.

I want to make two simple points.

1:  The increase in the price of Ball disposable lids makes the Tattler lids more attractive from a cost-benefit standpoint.

2:  The Tattler lids are a little “fussier” because the seal is a separate rubber ring.  But they aren’t hard to use. Continue reading Post #G21-010: Ball lid shortage and Tattler lids

Post #G21-009: Canning lid shortage revisited.

See post #G21-013.  Looks like seasonal shipments of canning supplies have begun.  In Vienna, VA, lids are back in stock.  (Or, at least, were as of 4/18/2021).

See Post #G21-003 for the background.  In a nutshell, it’s hard to get lids for home canning right now.  If you can find them, your choice is between expensive (name-brand) and potentially inferior (foreign-made).  (If you doubt that inferior part, read some of the reviews on Amazon.)  And, of course, the predators are out in full force, so you will see people offering to sell you lids for more than the cost of a “set” (jar+ring+lid).

I’ve now done a little shopping locally, and tracked the trends for on-line sources, and it’s time to update that prior post.

It’s clear that the situation is getting worse, but I stand by what I said in my prior post.  To me, it looks like the U.S. manufacturer hasn’t yet started shipping to major retailers for the 2021 canning season.  And so, I think that most of what we’re seeing right now is still the aftereffect of the 2020 canning season.

If that’s true, then things are going to continue to get worst, right on up to the point where the seasonal shipments start for the 2021 canning season.  And that that point, I expect to see lids available again.

That’s a guess.  But that’s still my best guess.

Details follow.  This turned out to be a long post.  I cover the topics listed below.    I’ve put the headings in red so you can just scroll down and find them.

  • My local stores.
  • Canning lid arbitrage, or why the local shelves should be empty.
  • Recent changes in on-line sources.
  • A brief note on re-using lids.
  • Only Newell, Inc. knows what’s actually in store for us later this year.
  • Afterword, or why a shortage of canning lids isn’t just some quaint little oddity.

Continue reading Post #G21-009: Canning lid shortage revisited.