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Business Booming At Local Pizzerias Even As Cheese, Pepperoni Harder To Come By

PASADENA (CBSLA) — In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and coins, but now some pizza places are reporting a shortage of pepperoni and higher prices for cheese.

"The price has gone up," David Valian, owner of Big Mama's and Papa's Pizza, said. "I think since there's like a meat shortage going around."

The thin slice of meat — a mix of pork and beef — is the number one pizza topping according to an industry resource, and its one that the popular Pasadena joint has run into issues keeping in stock.

"A couple of weeks ago, we were having some trouble sourcing pepperoni," Valian said. "We always have to go back and try to find more."

There's no clear reason for the shortage, but the popular pizza topping is more labor intensive as workers have to mix beef and pork before slicing the mix thin — and meat packers are cutting back on the number of employees working at a time due to pandemic restrictions.

But, despite the shortage, business at pizzerias has actually increased as more people look for easy meals to pick up and eat at home.

"We've actually been able to hire a couple of people, so we've been able to provide a couple of jobs for people through all of this," Joseph Hogan, owner of Pie Life, said.

But at Pie Life, the problem they were running into wasn't a lack of pepperoni — it was the increased price of cheese.

"Probably higher than I've ever seen it," Hogan said. "Cheese is one of those things that always goes up and down, but it's pretty spendy right now."

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