Summer Slim Jim Scarcity Leads to Stockpiling | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Summer Slim Jim Scarcity Leads to Stockpiling

If you were stocking a bomb shelter, what foods would you buy? I bet one of your nonperishable choices of protein would be the beef jerky snack, Slim Jim.As it turns out, people are stockpiling Slim Jims, but for a different reason. ConAgra, the company that makes Slim Jim, stopped producing the dr...

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Slim Jim cans might be harder to find on store shelves in the coming weeks. Image courtesy of Flickr user Roadsidepictures.


If you were stocking a bomb shelter, what foods would you buy? I bet one of your nonperishable choices of protein would be the beef jerky snack, Slim Jim.

As it turns out, people are stockpiling Slim Jims, but for a different reason. ConAgra, the company that makes Slim Jim, stopped producing the dried meat strips after a factory explosion in early June that killed three people.

With the destruction of the only Slim Jim factory in the United States, the company won't be able make new products for at least another month, according to media reports. If we dust off our economics book, that means there is a finite supply for something with a steady demand, which can lead to hoarding.

The New York Post reported that analysts predict a summer Slim Jim run:
"People who like , when they find out that there's a shortage, are going to grab onto them, I'm certain of it," said Harry Balzer, a food industry analyst with NPD Group. "Maybe Bernanke should step in with some TARP money because people can't live without their Slim Jims."

That's true, according to food industry consultant Jim Degan.

" loyalty is very high," Degan said. "If you eat Slim Jims, you aren't going to find brand B or C to be an acceptable substitute."
Until then ConAgra will use its existing supply to stock convenience stores, groceries and gas stations across the nation, but it doesn't expect to be able to meet the full demand for Slim Jims until the fall.

If you do find yourself hungry with no beef jerky for comfort, you could always watch these Slim Jim commercials and feed your mind with this thought: Why are professional wrestlers usually hired to pitch Slim Jim?

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