Honey container and lid acquisition was one of the great challenges of 2020. During the spring there was a plastics competition as production and distribution logistics were disrupted at international levels. We sold a lot of plastic containers to a few places that were gearing up for the hand santitizer craze of the spring and early summer. They were truly looking for any container with a lid that could hold hand sanitizer. It was intriguing to see pictures of our hexagon-embossed squeeze bottles with sanitizer in them. We are fortunate that our main plastics factory is actually based in the United States. A lot of similar containers come out of Asia, and international products are not making it across the ocean at their normal rates.
The March and April extremes of the plastics craze have died back substantially for us, but the strain on production and acquisition is still very real across the industry. We placed a factory direct plastic lid order in October that won’t be ready for delivery until June of the following year — an eight month lead time! The result is that suppliers and smaller buyers are all subject to acquisition roadblocks as portions of the national inventory are bought and sold two or three more times than usually occurs. That is why we had to institute a 10% supply surcharge for most of 2020 and going into 2021. Certain containers and lids are just not available except at 50-100% higher costs from places that stocked early or had their factory deliveries come in recently.
For now we’re trying to stock everything as normal and pass on limited additional costs to customers through the 10% supply surcharge that appears on container invoices right now. Hopefully there is not a post-holiday covid surge in the factories we depend upon, but we’re prepared for the worst in most respects. That just means we’ve overinvested in inventory to hopefully survive a supply/demand imbalance that is already at hand, though it is mostly invisible to consumers who don’t witness the scrambling that is going on behind the scenes.
Even now we’re on a concerted hunt for a replacement pint jar (glass) to cover the gap created when our normal supplier ran out of that container. Getting the correct lid and seal combination for that lid looks even more challenging.
We will figure something out as always. There appears to be some sort of solution for most of our issues at the moment, it is just a question of time and/or money in choosing the path forward. We will hope that 2021 presents us with viable options as well.