Home life · Notes from West London

The great Twiglet shortage of ’21

As a family we enjoy a wide range of savoury snacks. We have baskets full of, but not limited to, various flavours of crisps (“potato chips” to our American friends), pretzels of different sizes, mini-poppadums, prawn crackers, Quavers,  Wotsits, mini-Cheddars and salted popcorn. My children take a packet or two of snacks to school with them most days.   

In the last few years my son’s choice of snacks for his schoolbag has been a small packet of each of the following: Quavers (formerly known as “cheesy Quavers) and Twiglets, the marmite-flavoured wheat snack made by Jacobs. The latter are sold in packets of six for around a pound. I usually pick them up from the Pound Shop every couple of weeks, along with a handful of other items that are either more expensive at our local supermarkets or not stocked by them: Vimto (two 500ml bottles for a pound) and 4-packs of chocolate bars like Snickers, Mars Bars and Double Deckers. Every month or two in the spring and summer I also stock up on Loratadine, as noted here. Guess how much a six-pack of Twiglets cost at the Pound Shop last time they were available. Yes, £1.25 exactly.   

We have not been able to replenish our stocks of Twiglets since September. They have been absent from the shelves of the three local Pound Shops that I have tried, and all of our local supermarkets. The same was true, for a few weeks, of my breakfast cereal of choice, Oatiflakes. One Saturday morning in October I walked the length of our local High Street to see if any of them had either item. I went as far as the new Co-Op opposite Gunnersbury Station, which I had never visited before. Nothing. The last place where I had been able to buy Oatiflakes was in Oxfordshire in August, on one of our trips to swim in the Thames. There were three boxes in the Co-Op in Dorchester-on-Thames. I bought two of them. (Two for £4 which is much cheaper than usual.) When we returned later in the month the shelves were empty.  

There are numerous possible reasons behind the absence of our preferred items: “supply chain issues”, the decisions made by the suppliers themselves, maybe even “panic buying”. Our local branches of M&S and Waitrose have never stocked Twiglets or Oatiflakes but I still checked them last month, just in case. On an entirely different note, Blood Orange Cointreau is also unavailable everywhere I have tried (even online) although the original version can still be found.  

Over the last fortnight my wife has been able to source Oatiflakes, online initially, and then at a branch of Sainsbury’s a few miles away. But the great Twiglet shortage of 2021 continues.  



One thought on “The great Twiglet shortage of ’21

  1. My daughter has ‘twigged’ that this is part of the yeast shortage due to beer not being brewed at the same rate as pre-lockdowns and general paranoia about going to public (house) places.


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