I dislike pepperoni.  It is an unhealthy marriage of leftover pork, beef scraps, chili pepper, and low quality paprika. Depending on the food dyes added to this depressing slurry, pepperoni can be dark, bright or, even, fluorescent red. Aged like a bad wine, these dried salami-rejects have textures that range from that of limp cardboard to old shoe leather.  You can be sure that pepperoni will never foul the surface of my pizza . . . but I must give these meat scraps my unwavering support now that they, too, have been decimated by the coronavirus.  Pepperoni is a critical resource in these trying times.

After all, pePPEroni and PPE just seem to go together.

America is facing a pepperoni shortage.  Why?  Because it is a low margin product that is (comparatively) labor intensive to produce.  With new social distancing requirements, historically poor working conditions and insultingly low wages, the meat industry is facing greater labor shortages than usual.  The result?  A cutback in pepperoni production. Apparently, there is more money to be made producing edible meat products instead.

Who knew?

When one considers that quarantined/semi-quarantined citizens are ordering more takeout meals than ever, with pizza being one of their most popular choices, is it surprising that pepperoni prices are skyrocketing?  No, it’s the logical consequence of low supply and high demand.  Nor should it be surprising, therefore, that I just sold my gold interests and put the money into PEPPI, a pepperoni ETF.  (MarketWatch:  “Though scorched during the March-April 2020 market drop, returns of this ETF have been much more appetizing lately.”)

To some of you, I may appear to be a heartless opportunist, taking advantage of Covid-19 afflicted, pepperoni aficionados. The truth is more complex. I am doing this to make money in case a truly delicious and indispensable pizza topping becomes scarce and costly.  Anchovies.

I’m sure we can all agree that no pizza is complete without anchovies.


Peter Dragone - Co-founder of Keurig.