And that surge has led to a shortage in Mason jars and lids.
“Our sales basically went up 600% that week and haven’t dropped since,” she said.
Most of the demand is for the two-part lids necessary for canning, because they are single-use, whereas the glass jars can be used over and over. The lids have a disc that sits on the mouth of the jar with a ring that screws on around it, but after one use, the seal around the disc breaks down and can’t safely be used again.
The reasons behind the shortage
Bregg and Oehler said they attribute the demand to the amount of extra time people had at home since the pandemic started. And people who haven’t canned very much, or at all, are getting in on the trend.
What this has meant for suppliers
“Consumers staying home over the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in shifts in demand for food storage containers like Ball canning jars and lids,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
“As more consumers prepare their meals at home, Ball brand canning products and the entire canning industry have experienced an unprecedented demand. The demand has resulted in supply constraints, extended lead times and recently limited product availability at stores and online.”
Newell said it’s working “rapidly” to address the supply issue.
“We have increased glass production, found additional lid manufacturers and expanded our pack out locations to replenish stock as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
What canners can do
Bregg, who is based in the Pacific Northwest, said that so far, she has been able to source jars and lids from Canada to fill orders. A leading brand there, Bernardin, is also manufactured by Newell but is more widely available north of the border, Bregg said.
So what can eager canners do until the supply picks up?
First, don’t try to reuse the lids, because you’ll run the risk of botulism, Oehler said. Instead, check local hardware stores and feed stores for remaining supplies, or ask friends and family whether they have new lids lying around.
And try other methods of food preserving, like dehydrating and freezing.
Because while jars and lids are in short supply, your creativity doesn’t have to be.