Noticed a yeast shortage? Cooped up families are baking up a storm in SA

Yeast shortages are on the rise as families bond in the kitchen.
Yeast shortages are on the rise as families bond in the kitchen.
Image: choreograph/

There has been a significant increase in demand for some items in shops since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown - and yeast is one of them.

Baking yeast has been flying off the shelves.

Joanne Clarke, director of consumer relations at Anchor Yeast, said their retail partners have battled to service the significant increase in demand.

“We are working with them to make sure that we fill the shelves and make yeast available to our valuable shoppers and consumers. One retail buyer shared that he sold three weeks’ stock ... in one day,” said Clark.

Yeast is a versatile ingredient used in making traditional products such as bread, magwinya or dombolo – but also more exciting sweet and savoury products such as pizza, doughnuts and Chelsea buns, to name a few.

“The lockdown has also inspired families to hone in on their baking skills and have fun while they are about it. One only needs to look at one’s social media feed to see the number of posts proudly displaying an assortment of recipes and unique creations that people are sharing – from grandparents to young, school-going children,” said Clark.

“Perhaps working from home has also freed up time to test some of the treats that one has seen in recipe books but not had the time to try. We have received several requests from consumers for recipe ideas – which we have gladly offered,” Clarke said.

She said as a business, they were delighted to see people all over the country taking pleasure in baking – while also being able to feed the family without leaving home.

“We are concerned about availability issues in the stores, but we have seen an improvement in the past week and are working hard to fill all the gaps,” added Clarke.

Woolworths confirmed there had been a rise in demand for the product since the lockdown.

“Our yeast sales have increased significantly during the lockdown. Our yeast supplier had run out of packaging for the product a week ago, which they have now received,” the retailer said in a response to enquiries by TimesLIVE.

Pick n Pay also attributed the dramatic rise in demand to families bonding and baking.

“Many customers are looking to keep entertained during the lockdown and a few have turned to baking. Our muffin mixes, bread mixes and baking items have been very popular with customers. We have loved seeing all the great creations online,” said the retailer.

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