Taco Bell May Be Facing a Nationwide Sour Cream Shortage
Sour cream is a staple ingredient at Taco Bell restaurants. This creamy, tangy dairy product is widely featured throughout the fast-food chain's menu and customers have the option to add it to practically any item that doesn't already include it. Unfortunately, Taco Bell could have trouble getting enough sour cream to feed hungry customers in the near future as workers from a major supplier go on strike, raising concerns about a potential shortage.
Workers from the New Dairy Select Milk production facility in De Pere, Wis., went on strike last week to call for better healthcare coverage from parent company Borden Dairy. Teamsters Local 662, the union representing the striking workers, said that Borden Dairy is trying to force workers to join a company healthcare plan that would "require them to pay higher premiums and deductibles, as well as come out-of-pocket for a wide variety of services that would be covered under a Teamster plan."
Now, the union is warning that the strike could potentially cause a sour cream shortage for Taco Bell. Teamsters Local 662 said the De Pere facility involved in the strike supplies sour cream to every Taco Bell restaurant east of the Rocky Mountains, which is most of the country. The union started a petition to New Dairy Select Milk so Taco Bell customers and other supporters can demand better treatment for the workers.
"We're encouraging Taco Bell customers to reach out to the company's leadership and demand that their suppliers treat these hardworking men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve," Peter Finn, Teamsters' Western region vice president and food processing division director, said in a statement. "Borden Dairy's actions are irrational, irresponsible, and bad for business."
Just how severely the strike may impact Taco Bell remains to be seen. In a statement, New Dairy Select Milk said that the strike hasn't halted production.
"NDSM continues to provide products and services to all our food service customers without interruption and with the same great service they expect," the statement read. "We believe it's important to continue production at our De Pere facility to support all of our employees, our customers and suppliers."
"We are disappointed some of our union employees (members of Teamsters Local 662) remain on strike and look forward to their return. The company offered a very competitive, new contract that significantly increases key items above the most recent contract signed by the Teamsters, including above-market pay and enhanced health care benefits," the statement continued. "We have asked the union and our employees to reconsider our proposal so we can finalize a contract and move forward together."
A Taco Bell representative did not immediately respond to our queries for comment on the strike and how it may impact sour cream supplies.
Taco Bell isn't the only major food company that the strike could impact. In the announcement, the union noted that New Dairy Select Milk workers also produce sour cream for several other well-known brands like Wendy's and meal kit company Hello Fresh. Both companies also did not immediately respond to our queries for comment on how the strike may affect their sour cream supplies.