The weather is beginning to warm up, which means the demand for cold drinks, like bubble tea is beginning to increase. However, businesses in the U.S. and Canada are struggling to meet the needs of those consumers.
The tea-based drink, which includes chewy tapioca balls or boba at the bottom, is experiencing a shortage in the U.S. due to delayed shipments of the ingredients tapioca starch balls, also known as boba. Customers could begin noticing the shortage as early as next week.
Tommy Huang, Leadway International senior sales manager, claimed it could be a while before the shortage ends. “It’s going to take a long time to be able to say we will not have a shortage of tapioca,” he said.
The shortage in Canada started two weeks ago, and companies in the bubble tea industry believe it could take months before the shortage in the country ends.
Some of the businesses hit by the shortage have just begun to receive shipments of orders that should have arrived in March.
Greg Tieu, who works at Bubble Tea Canada, revealed some wholesale prices have already increased and could have a monetary impact on others.
“The cost of that (delay) is being passed onto shops and consumers,” he explained. “That stop in the supply chain can hit stores very hard, whether they’ll have supplies or not.”
Last week, Boba Guys founders, Bin Chen and Andrew Chau shared an Instagram video informing customers about shortages in their favorite bubble tea shops.
“We have a big update on the shipping issues including an impending nationwide shortage on boba. Even though we operate our own factory in the United States, we are reliant on the shipping network to procure the raw tapioca starch that we make our boba with,” the owners explained in the caption.
The businessmen also ask consumers not to get mad at boba shops for “running out of boba.”