Why is there a ketchup shortage?

For those who’ve ordered a burger and fries recently and haven’t been given a few packets of ketchup on the aspect as you usually would, don’t blame the restaurant. They’re not being stingy–likelihood is they’ve merely run out of America’s favourite condiment. In terms of these little ketchup packets, most eating places have.

Why? Blame COVID-19, in fact.

America is going via a nice ketchup scarcity proper now, the Wall Avenue Journal reports. Ever for the reason that pandemic hit final 12 months folks have been turning to curb-side pickups and meals supply providers in file numbers and as a end result, there has been a larger demand for ketchup packets as an alternative of, say, ketchup bottles eating places would have sitting on diners’ tables. However that additional demand for packet-based ketchup has now led to a scarcity.

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And that scarcity isn’t affecting simply unbiased eating places, it’s affecting main chains like Lengthy John Silver’s, too. As a matter of truth, the scarcity has seen ketchup packet costs skyrocket 13% since January 2020 and pushed ketchup gross sales to over $1 billion final 12 months.

However what is to be finished in regards to the nice ketchup packet scarcity? For now, eating places are turning to advert hoc options—as an alternative of providing packets some are squirting the pink gold into little tubs and offering a serving of the condiment that approach. Then there is the business’s response. Heinz, who dominates the ketchup market in America with a 70% share, says it is planning on opening two new manufacturing strains. It’s going to in the end improve manufacturing to 12 billion packets a 12 months—a 25% improve.

Till then, there’s at all times mustard.