WASHINGTON, DC – As the Russian offensive into Ukraine enters its third week, previously existing supply chain disruptions and a ban on Russian imports of borscht are causing the price of the beet-based soup to spike, adding to economic anxiety. According to analysts, borscht prices have increased over 60 percent since February and show no sign of stopping.
“I had to go to three stores just to find anyone who had borscht in stock,” said New York City resident Anna Kovalenko, adding “and when I did find it, it was almost $6 a pint. I can’t afford to feed my family with prices like that.”
According to soup expert Ali Yeganeh, over 50 percent of America’s borscht supply is imported from Russia while America produces only 15 percent of its own supply. Imports from the Ukraine and other Eastern European nations make up the remainder. “What we’re seeing now is that suddenly half the supply has dried up, and the conflict in the Ukraine is affecting manufacture and export. America simply doesn’t have the production capability to make up the difference,” explained Yeganeh.
Americans are imploring President Biden to open up strategic borscht reserves, a move the President has been hesitant to make. “I know hardworking Americans are feeling the squeeze,” said Biden on Tuesday, “but opening up reserves now would make us vulnerable in the future. For now, folks should consider alternatives like potato leek or mulligatawny.”
The President’s statements do little to assure Lancaster voter Ray Kozak who places blame squarely with the President, saying “under [President] Trump, borscht prices were reasonable, but now we’ve got Brandon jacking up prices and refusing to do anything about it. Let’s increase production, let’s open up those reserves. I’m not sure how long I can go without putting borscht on the dinner table.”
Yeganeh cautions people to avoid low-quality Chinese borscht or attempt to produce their own unless they are a babushka, saying “the shortages and higher prices should be temporary. For the love of God, please don’t attempt to make borscht with canned beets or anything drastic.” He expects prices will stabilize in a few weeks and be back to pre-invasion prices in time for the fall borscht season.
These assurances do little to convince Kovalenko, whose family has thus far refused to make dietary changes to cope with the borscht shortage, lamenting “I’m just going to have to make some sacrifices and pay the higher prices.” Sadly, this may be the situation for struggling families nationwide.