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‘Stressful’ sugar shortage affecting Saskatchewan bakery

Historically, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for bakeries as they work to fulfil orders during the Christmas season.

Amid the ongoing sugar shortage, this season is stressful for all the wrong reasons.

Tracey Muzzolini, co-owner of Christie’s Bakery in Mayfair, said she has stocked up enough sugar for the holidays, but after that’s passed, she will need to re-evaluate where they stand.

“I feel secure enough to get through Christmas and then it just depends how long things go on, so it’s been a little stressful for a lot of us,” Muzzolini said. “I’m doing better than some others who have higher sugar production needs. I’m just happy to get through the season.”

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On Sept. 28, 138 workers walked off the job at Rogers Sugar Refinery in Vancouver, bringing production to a halt. The dispute remains ongoing, with Rogers Sugar saying talks with the union have stopped after workers rejected the company’s latest offer.

The company added that it is continuing to operate its Vancouver refinery at a reduced capacity and has enough raw sugar to last until May 2024.

For businesses like Christie’s Bakery, Muzzolini said this is the time to sell enough sweets to survive through the next quarter, which can be difficult in the food services industry.

“You just cross your fingers and hope you’re going to make it and hope the dispute is resolved. It’s just one of the challenges.”

One blessing has been the staff and customers, which she said have helped with keeping sugar in stock, phoning her to let her know when they see the product on shelves.

“They’re just trying to help us get through, which is just the most awesome part actually, because our customers care about us and want us to succeed. That’s been surprising, and nice.”


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