google – vlookup calculates too early, searches for the value “” instead of for the value that will later populate

I have a user interface , then a list of =unique() functions populating an inventory list. Finally, multiple instances of an ingredient are summed up into a concise list. A final list of vlookups, for cost, sometimes fails. It tries to lookup “” (nothing) instead of the ingredient in the final list. It’s calculation seems to be just firing too early.

I suppose I will just keep on trying different ways to accomplish this task until something works reliably?

p.s. the first item in this list has a fixed value at $0.05. None of the cost functions will populate until I refresh them. They seem to last for a couple hours.

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