KFC branches across Australia face supply shortages following flooding © Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images
KFC branches across Australia face supply shortages following flooding © Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images

Why has KFC been forced to switch from lettuce to cabbage?

7 June 2022

KFC has been forced to swap lettuce for cabbage in burgers and wraps due to flooding in Australia.

Floods in Queensland and New South Wales have caused a shortage of lettuce and KFC has switched to cabbage and cabbage-lettuce blends in stores across Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania.

“We’ve hit a bit of an Iceberg and are currently experiencing some lettuce supply chain disruptions due to the impacts of the recent Queensland and NSW floods,” KFC Australia said on its website, according to The Guardian.

“We’re working with our multiple suppliers to provide them with support, but we do expect disruptions to continue in the coming days.”

Australia’s east coast was hit by weeks of flooding earlier this year following torrential rain. In March a report warned extreme weather events in Australia could lead to nationwide food shortages.

David Read, chairman of Prestige Purchasing, told Supply Management the issues in Australia were likely caused by climate change, while food shortages have been exacerbated by Covid and the war in Ukraine, which has driven up wheat prices globally.

“Food has been heavily reliant on large-scale just-in-time supply chains,” Read said. “In normal circumstances these are efficient, low cost and most importantly highly reliable. The factors above are rewriting the rules of purchasing and supply. 

“With availability risks greatly enhanced in this post-Covid period, buyers are rightly choosing to spread risk through a range of techniques from adjusting menus/recipes, increasing stock levels, closer management of supply, and enhanced contingency planning, right through to localisation and multi-sourcing strategies.”

In March McDonald's in the UK downsized its burgers from two slices of tomato to one following a shortage. Producers had warned of a tomato shortage in 2021 due to the high cost of energy to heat greenhouses.

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