A ketchup shortage in the US is causing prices to spike - and it could get harder to find ketchup packets at restaurants

  
Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  one week ago  •  20 comments

By:   Grace Dean,Grace Kay Business Insider

A ketchup shortage in the US is causing prices to spike - and it could get harder to find ketchup packets at restaurants
 

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A ketchup shortage in the US is causing prices to spike - and it could get harder to find ketchup packets at restaurants

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Associated Press

  • Over the past year, an increase in take-out orders has caused ketchup sales to spike.

  • At the beginning of the pandemic, ketchup sales were up over 300% from the previous year.

  • Kraft Heinz is working to keep up with the increase in demand by streamlining its process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global supply chain, causing shortages of  toilet paper Peloton bikes , and  computer chips . Ketchup packets are its latest casualty, according to a new report by  The Wall Street Journal .

Kraft Heinz confirmed the ketchup shortage to Insider. Steve Cornell, the company's president, told Insider that demand for ketchup has outstripped supplies.

Some shoppers told The Journal the popular condiment has already become a difficult item to get at drive-thrus, comparing it to searching for hand sanitizer or toilet paper at the onset of the pandemic.

In July,  CNN  reported ketchup packets and other single-use items could soon be in short supply. Sales of the packets spiked 300% in the beginning of 2020 from the previous year, according to FoodServiceDirect.com.

The ketchup shortage can largely be attributed to the ever-changing role of restaurants in the pandemic.

Because of restrictions on restaurants offering sit-down dining during the pandemic, many have pivoted to offering takeout instead - a move that has significantly increased the demand for condiments in individual-portion sizes. Some restaurants that can offer on-site dining have opted not to use communal bottles, which are high-frequency touch points, to single-serve packets.

More people have also been eating at home, meaning that the hospitality industry is also competing with increased domestic demand for ketchup.

What's more, many unused single-use packets end up in the trash as they are stuffed haphazardly into take-out bags and left at tables. Chef Mike DeCamp told The Journal he sees many packets go to waste.

The Journal reported that prices of ketchup packets have risen 13% since January 2020, citing data from Plate IQ. In order to combat the price hike, restaurants are turning to substitute brands or decanting ketchup from larger bottles into smaller tubs.

Executives from the fast-food chain Long John Silver's told the publication that it had spent an extra $500,000 on ketchup this year because of soaring demand combined with the fact that single-serve portions cost more than bottles.

Steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse, which went through 55 million ounces of ketchup in 2020, told the Journal it had to pivot to wholesalers and generic brands after struggling to obtain Kraft Heinz ketchup.

Smaller restaurants have reportedly been struggling with shortages, too. Chris Fuselier, who owns Blake Street Tavern in Denver, told the publication that the restaurant had been "hunting high and low" for ketchup, but had struggled to get enough supplies. The restaurant, which counts burgers and fries among its staple dishes, had to switch from Kraft Heinz to a generic version. As a result, Fuselier said servers often have to apologize to customers for the switch.

Kraft Heinz dominates the ketchup market and accounts for nearly 70% of the retail market in the US, the Journal reported, citing data from Euromonitor.

Kraft Heinz told Insider that early on in the pandemic the company was forced to add extra production shifts and prioritize more popular products in order to help meet the increase in demand.

The company plans to open multiple manufacturing lines in April, with more to follow. It said this would increase production by around 25% and bring its total yearly production to more than 12 billion packets.

The company has also been working creating innovative ways to spare ketchup packets from going to waste. In November, the company created a no-touch dispenser to maintain COVID-19 standards, while cutting back on the single-use packets.

Ketchup shortages at restaurants is one of many difficulties the US supply chain has faced this year in the wake of COVID-19 shut downs and port delays.  Many shoppers are already seeing delays and price spikes in anything from furniture to gas and car prices.

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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

No big deal, just do as the Brits and the Canadians do and douse your French fries with salt and vinegar.

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
1.1  cjcold  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one week ago

You damn ferreners even use mayo on fries, so I am told.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  cjcold @1.1    one week ago

LOL.  Not me. But I do mix mayo into mashed potatoes.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.1.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  cjcold @1.1    one week ago

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif In my work travels, I have found out mayo on fries to be a European thing. I've always eaten mayo and ketchup together with my fries. I felt right at home in Europe... better coffee, mayo given with fry orders without being charged extra, better chocolate, smoke shacks in the airports, the ability to smoke at the restaurant outdoor eating areas... it was pretty awesome.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.1.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    one week ago

Makes them creamier, doesn't it?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @1.1.3    one week ago

And tastier as well.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
1.1.5  pat wilson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @1.1.2    one week ago

The Nutella you buy in France is much, much better than what's available stateside, don't know why.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.1.6  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  pat wilson @1.1.5    one week ago

Maybe I will have one of my French counterparts send me a jar. jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif I should be able to make out the label to identify any differences.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one week ago

Mmmm... or gravy and cheese curds.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @1.2    one week ago

French Canadian poutine, readily available in Canada.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.2.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2.1    one week ago

Yep! I'm surprised that it hasn't taken here in MI. I mean, I can see Canada from my porch overhang... and I have to go up there, only because I'm a dozen blocks from the river.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2  Mark in Wyoming     one week ago

y'all made me hangry, so frites with sour cream , and some pulled pork with au jus it is .

 

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
3  pat wilson    one week ago

Make your own ketchup, probably tastes better.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  pat wilson @3    one week ago

A solution for those who can't bear to eat French fries without ketchup.  Are you going to post the recipe?

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
3.1.1  pat wilson  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.1    one week ago

I haven't made it but I googled it and there were numerous, simple recipes.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

Ketchup manufacturers say Canada in the clear as shortage grips U.S.

.

 
 
 
Freefaller
PhD Guide
5  Freefaller    one week ago

Gravy is better than catsup on fries anyway so no loss

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Freefaller @5    one week ago

Chacun a son gout.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.2  Kavika   replied to  Freefaller @5    one week ago

OMG, you put cats up on your fries? Where is PETA when I need them?jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @5.2    one week ago

Maybe he meant cat soup.

 
 
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