The time has come to start digging through your fridge for that half-used bottle of ketchup hiding in the back (it’s OK we all have one).
America’s favorite condiment is the latest product to join a series of pandemic-era shortages that includes pepperoni, cereal, cheese, cookies, toiletries and cleaning supplies, Thrillist reports.
Ketchup packets are in especially short supply as restaurants have become reliant on takeout orders during the past year as the pandemic closed their dining rooms, the New York Post reports. People adds that many restaurants have been attempting to stock up on the packets since the CDC recommended that they suspend using reusable items like menus and condiments containers.
Some restaurants like Texas Roadhouse — a chain that used more than 55 million ounces of ketchup in 2020— are turning to wholesalers like Costco to restock on packets as their usual suppliers are running low, the New York Post reported.
Addressing the situation, Texas Roadhouse spokesperson Travis Doster stated, “We feel like the bottom of the barrel” (via the New York Post).
According to Fox News, the price for ketchup packets has increased 13% in the past calendar year. The site adds that Heinz plans to increase its production by around 25% to “ketchup” to the increased demand.
Kraft reported that at the start of the pandemic, the overall demand for restaurant ketchup took a nosedive, but shortly thereafter the company saw a shift toward takeout and delivery products and pivoted to meet those demands, USA Today reports. For example, the site adds Heinz decided to scale back the production of less popular condiments to focus on ketchup, but the demand still overshadowed the company’s supply even after these changes.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz’s president of enhancers, specialty and away from home business unit, said, “We’re busy doing everything we can.”