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Restaurants struggling to source ingredients as supply chain issues continue around the world

Whole Sol Blend Bar said they ordered organic ingredients months ago, and some of them are sitting on containers in the Port of Los Angeles.

DENVER — Ordering a smoothie bowl at one of Whole Sol Blend Bar's locations across the metro area might come with some substitutions as the local chain struggles to source their organic ingredients because of supply chain issues. 

 “We just ran out of maple syrup, It must be because the trees in Vermont are just so far away from here," Zach Page said as he made a latte behind the Whole Sol counter. 

But the truth might not be far from Page's joke. 

”And we’ve been having trouble sourcing very simple kind of items like organic coconut meat and organic coconut water which are some of our best-selling ingredients," said Whole Sol CEO, Phil Dumontet. "They’ve been held up in the port coming from Thailand for months and there’s just no way for us to get our hands on it." 

Specifically, those ingredients are waiting in the Port of Los Angeles, along with many other products as a cargo ship backlog continues.

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“It is frustrating but hopefully it will pass soon," said Dumontet.  "We’ve made some great substitutions and are working around it, just training our staff on how do we still offer delicious organic ingredients, stay true to our promise of all organic ingredients and kind of work around those issues. 

Dumontet said he's also struggled to get enough organic oranges and grapefruits from Florida. And bananas are coming in too green to be used right away. 

"Some of our facilities, the back of house are turning into pseudo ripening facilities," said Dumontet. "And that’s another challenge for the supply chain, it’s like yeah we got a ton of bananas in the back but they’re all green, or we got a ton of avocados but they’re hard as a rock." 

Dumontet is not alone. The Colorado Restaurant Association said other members are struggling to source chicken wings, fish, and even plastic gloves. 

They said this issue, combined with staffing shortages and pandemic debt has more than 25% of Colorado restaurants considering permanent closure in the coming months. 

“Yeah the whole supply chain is really challenging and the timing is what makes it so tricky," he said.

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