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Shortage of ketchup packets? Yes, it is another consequence of the pandemic

2021-04-08T03:22:47.987Z

First it was the toilet paper, then the cleaning products. Now supply chains dislocated by COVID-19 affect the production and distribution of this popular condiment.



By Chrissy Callahan - NBC News

If you are someone who identifies with the phrase

"I put ketchup on my ketchup"

, you will be interested - and perhaps a little horrified - to know that one of the most popular presentations of this product is scarce throughout the country.

As

The Wall Street Journal

first reported

, there are reports that individual packages of ketchup are in short supply right now, and restaurants and fast food chains

are having trouble meeting demand.

Ketchup has always been a staple condiment for Americans, but since the pandemic forced many restaurants to increase their

takeout offerings

, demand for those convenient individual packets has skyrocketed.

And the rules of supply and demand have led to a 13% increase in package prices since 2020, according to the newspaper.

[US commodity prices skyrocket due to the economic impact of the pandemic]

Fast food chains have always handed out these disposable packages, but restaurants have traditionally placed

bottles of ketchup on tables

or poured it into a bowl for customers.

Now that both food service models are competing for packages, or envelopes, as industry experts call them, the supply chain has been pushed to the limit.

The rules of supply and demand have led to a 13% increase in package prices of the sauce since 2020. Getty Images

Kraft Heinz is, of course, the best-known ketchup maker, with the company

accounting for nearly 70%

of the US retail market, the

Wall Street Journal reported

.

With more people eating at home, ketchup bottle sales have also increased 15% in the last year, to exceed $ 1 billion in 2020.

As a result of shortages in the supply chain, many restaurants are limiting the number of packages they give out to customers or are

resorting to purchasing generic brands

of ketchup that they don't normally use.

Some popular fast food chains, like Long John Silver's and Texas Roadhouse, have even had to go to secondary vendors to get the packages.

[Product shortages and price rises due to the prolonged traffic jam of the freighter in the Suez Canal]

Kraft Heinz executive Steve Cornell told TODAY Food that the company is working hard to keep up with demand for those coveted ketchup packets as the takeout industry continues to grow.

"Consumers' unmatched love for our iconic HEINZ brand, as well as our long association with the restaurant industry, are two responsibilities we take very seriously, which is why we made

strategic manufacturing investments

at the start of the pandemic to maintain the pace of demand for ketchup packages driven by accelerating delivery and takeout trends, "he wrote in an emailed statement.

Product shortages and price rises due to the prolonged traffic jam of the freighter in the Suez Canal

March 27, 202100: 29

Cornell also noted that Kraft Heinz has been looking for

new packaging options

to help evolve with its industry.

"At the same time, we have also accelerated forward-looking packaging and culinary innovations, as well as manufacturing expansion plans, as we believe there is a tremendous opportunity to grow our brands in the exciting restaurant industry." He said.

[Gasoline prices go up across the United States]

Fans of the 150-year-old ketchup brand will recall that Kraft Heinz invented a single-serving ketchup tray called Dip & Squeeze in 2011. In November 2020, the brand also

launched a contactless dispenser

for help provide restaurants with a hygienic way to allow customers to dispense their own condiments.

Going forward, Cornell said the company is banking on its multiple new production lines, which it hopes will allow it to

increase production by 25%

to 12 billion packages of ketchup a year.

Tomato sauce packets are the latest shortage after the pandemic.

It started with the absence of toilet paper, which sold out because everyone went shopping in large quantities.

The meat shortage soon spread, and home bakers also bought flour and yeast dough.

[The reasons behind panic shopping and toilet paper shortage]

Interestingly, refrigerators were also in short supply, as was Mason packaging, as people started making pickles as a hobby.

Not even pepperoni was spared, and the price of the popular pizza topping began to rise over the summer.

If you can't find your beloved ketchup packets or bottles, know that making your own is always an option.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-04-08

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