Food & Drink

Bad weather, high demand fueled cannellini shortage

Q. Canned cannellini beans are a staple in our pantry, but we cannot find them at our usual stores. Progresso and Goya are the usual suppliers, but it is just not there. Have you heard of any shortage and why?

We heard from several readers who reported missing cannellini beans in other areas as well. It took a little time to run it down, but we finally learned from General Mills, which owns the Progresso brand, that there indeed has been a national shortage of cannellini beans.

There were two reasons for the shortage. The first was poor weather conditions in the Upper Midwest, where most of the nation's supply of cannellini beans are grown.

The second was increased demand, which took the company by surprise. Apparently, consumers are getting the message about the value of increasing the fiber in their diets. General Mills and Progresso have noticed increases in other high-fiber products as well.

The good news is that they now have enough beans to start production, and the product should be back in markets by early January.

In the meantime, if you can't find cannellini beans, it might be a good time to explore some of the other great beans on the shelves, including Great Northern beans, which can stand in for cannellini beans in most dishes.