Surge in demand sees Robin Hood flour running out of its iconic yellow bags

Feverish demand for baking has one of the biggest sellers of flour in the country saying it is having trouble finding enough of its iconic yellow bags to put it in.

As millions of people across the country shelter in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, there has been a surge in the popularity of baking at home, both for food and to pass the time. Early on, store shelves were cleared out of their flour. Anecdotal reports suggest flour has rivalled toilet paper as one of the hardest items to find.

But now it’s not so much the flour that’s in short supply, it’s the packaging.

Robin Hood typically sells more flour in Canada than just about anyone, and the company confirms to CBC News that it has seen increased demand.

“We have noticed an upswing,” said Ray Hancart of Smucker Foods of Canada, which owns the Robin Hood brand. “Particularly at the outset, when people were stocking up on products they felt they would need around the house, [but] we are still seeing elevated numbers.”

While Robin Hood says it has plenty of product, it has run out of bags to sell it in, which is why the company will temporarily start selling its product in some stores in nondescript white bags.

“We are experiencing some delays with our normal packaging so we quickly shifted to this temporary packaging,” Hancart said.

“We have made a temporary switch to white and brown bags from our traditional yellow bags to make sure we could replenish quickly.”

Hancart added that most of the white bags will be found in Western Canada.

While the bags may look different, Hancart stresses the flour inside is the exact same product it always was — and the company is in no danger of running out of flour anytime soon.

“Consumers should rest assured there’s nothing else changed about the product,” he said. “We are working as quickly as possible to get flour back on store shelves.”


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