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Looking forward to having a Patti Labelle sweet potato pie to celebrate Thanksgiving with? Good luck with that. Unless you know the diva herself, you may be out of luck on that one. Walmart says that its not just the demand now that a viral video praising the pies has gotten over a million views, it’s the critical ingredient itself – the sweet potato.
Walmart representative John Forrest Ales confirmed to Yahoo Food that the sweet potato pies are selling like hot cakes (er, pies) at locations across the country. “For 72 hours, we were selling one per second,” he told us. Ales wouldn’t go into specifics about sales figures, but at $3.48 a pie, that works out to just under $1 million in sales over the weekend. The pie’s product page is currently the most-visited food site on Walmart.com, Ales said. (For a bit of context, Walmart might sell two pumpkin pies every second in the month of November. But still, $1 million in sweet potato pie sales is a lot of pie.)
Walmart was caught off-guard by the frenzy, Ales said.
“Friday morning, the team was working with the [sweet potato pie] supplier to see how we can keep up with the demand,” Ales said. “The supplier… was having a hard time finding [enough] sweet potatoes. So we walked down the hall to the produce department [and said,] ‘We need about 2 million pounds of California sweet potatoes!’ So that’s what we’ve been working through.”
Ales added that Walmart is working hard to replenish stocks at sold-out locations. “We’re really sorry about that,” he said. “We’re looking at where stores are out and how we can quickly move pies to that area.”
Hmmm, maybe Patti can make a few more from scratch and sell them out of a food truck?