Pokémon Cards Contribute to Another Food Shortage — This Time It’s Cereal

If Pokémon cards are involved, you can bet a frenzy will follow.

May 11, 2021

The quest for Pokémon cards has contributed to yet another food-related shortage, and this time it’s the cereal aisle that’s taking the hit.

If you’ve visited the supermarket lately and noticed that some of your favorite cereals are MIA, you’re not alone. These days, certain General Mills cereals are hard to come by thanks to the company’s recent partnership with The Pokémon Company. You see, back in March both brands teamed up to launch a collaboration in which three-packs of designated Pokémon cards would be included in boxes of Golden Grahams, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms. Each card pack contains one foil Pikachu card and two additional Pokémon.

Per the promotion, which is part of a larger celebration marking the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary, there are 14 cards in total that consumers can collect. And just like the Pokémon cards from our youth, some of these cards are holographic and more difficult to come by than a regular card. To add to the craze, certain retailers also feature specific cards in their boxes, making them an easy and frequent target.

What began as a well-meaning celebration of Pokémon has morphed into a feeding frenzy in the cereal aisle as fans desperately try to get their hands on some of the more coveted cards in order to either collect them or, more likely, sell them for large sums of money online.

According to multiple social media posts, some consumers have gone so far as to purchase dozens of boxes at a time, while others have riffled through boxes in the store in a quest for the cards. The latter has even forced some retailers to wrap up their cereal boxes in an effort to safeguard them and deter any would-be Pokémon card thieves.

As a result, some stores across the country are reporting shortages of certain General Mills cereals that are part of this promotion.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this year that Pokémon cards have contributed to a food frenzy. Back in February, dedicated Pokémon fans swarmed McDonald’s outposts around the nation because the restaurant chain was selling Pikachu-shaped Happy Meals with a special booster pack of Pokémon Trading Card Game cards inside.

Similarly, that collaboration led to scalpers scooping up these special-edition Happy Meals in order to collect as many Pokémon cards as they could and then resell them for lots of money. The situation got so chaotic that McDonald’s began “strongly encouraging” individual restaurants to prevent scalping by putting a limit on how many card packs they sell to individual customers.

“With such significant demand for our promotional Pokémon TCG cards, and some fans even going to extreme lengths to get them, we’re working quickly to address shortages and also strongly encouraging restaurants to set a reasonable limit on Happy Meals sold per customer,” a rep for the Golden Arches said in a statement at the time.

Moral of the story? Putting Pokémon cards in your food can lead to some serious shortages.

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