What’s With The Taco Bell Sauce Shortage?
When I shop for groceries, I usually get only what I'm going to need for that pay period. It's usually some deli cuts, chips, water, soda, and either steak or chicken breasts depending on what I'm going to meal-prep for the next two weeks.
While my norm is some sort of grilled buffalo chicken or crockpot crack chicken, chili has been my cold-weather go-to in 2022, but even I get burned out on it. So in February, I opted to make a massive batch of tacos that I could just microwave and be done with dinner in minutes.
While people call it meal-prepping now, it used to be called "you're crazy." At least that's what my mom and sisters call it. I'm the type that will find a meal I enjoy making, and I'll eat it religiously night in and out for months on end. Eventually, I'll get tired of it and that dish will drop from my routine for years. Case and point, I got on a spaghetti kick the summer before I bought my house. Made a big pot every Sunday, microwaved it for dinner almost every night for what had to be eight weeks. It's been six years since I've had pasta, and anytime I start to think about it, I lose my appetite. That's just how I'm wired.
I normally opt for grocery pickup at the store since I don't like walking around aimlessly looking for everything on my list, but when I decided to do tacos, I needed food that night and I was forced to shop inside.
While I'd love to say that trip was unremarkable, it wasn't. Our westside Walmart had new floors, new registers, and a neat little grab-and-go section up front with a bunch of epic snacks a person might otherwise roam the store looking for. I can't remember the last time I walked in there, but I remember it mainly because I discovered Taco Bell sold bottles of their taco sauce right next to their seasoning packets.
For years I'd been occasionally going to Taco Bell and paying that ridiculous $16+tax on a taco party pack just so I could get a handful or two of my beloved mild and hot sauce. Luckily, my westside Taco Bell brethren are usually cool enough to just toss way more than they should in the bag... but then I found it in bottles on store shelves for a dollar a bottle? Jackpot!
Between the homemade crockpot tacos, a few Taco Bell spice packets, and some new Walmart queso a coworker told me about and those glorious bottles of taco sauce... I think I've had a taco salad at least four nights a week for the last month... but supply and demand is threatening to derail my meal routine.
I was putting items in my digital cart the other day and noticed the westside Walmart was out of Taco Bell sauce.
No problem... there are more Walmarts to choose from.
Sheridan Road? Out... Neighborhood Market? Out... Target, out... Duncan, out... Chickasha, out... Panic.
I did find some at the Altus Walmart, but it wouldn't let me add it to my cart... it was only available in store. I have family over there and asked a cousin to swing by and pick me up a few or twenty bottles... I pick stuff up for him all the time in Lawton, so we do stuff like this for each other... They only had four bottles.
What is going on?
I did see that Amazon had plenty of Taco Bell's sauce to go around... if you were willing to pay $5 per bottle vs the normal $1 per bottle... shenanigans. After some googling, I saw some available on Instacart. I have no idea what that is, but it said the westside Homeland had plenty.
Desperate times call for desperate measures...
Even though the roads are extremely slick, the city hasn't done hardly anything for road conditions, and I haven't seen hardly any of my neighbors venture out, I decided to slip on my crocs and make a taco sauce run for the sake of eating well while we're iced in.
It sucks that Homeland charges nearly double what Walmart does for this exact same product, but I happily paid it to stock up the pantry.
Safely home after buying the entire stock, now I'm curious why it's so hard to find on store shelves...
There's quite a lot of information about the Taco Bell sauce shortage from last summer, but that was in 2021... Then again, I suppose if TB is focused more on having a solid supply for restaurants instead of grocery stores, that could be what's happening downstream right now too. That's fair and logical. I'm just glad I found some for myself.
If the b-hole people that hoarded all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer back in 2020 taught me anything, it's to fight fire with fire. It's all mine and I'll eat every last drop of it.