Ketchup Shortage Hits Fast Food Restaurants, So Bring Your Own

BYOK, Bring your own ketchup is the new name of the game for some dedicated fast food customers. First reported by the Wall Street Journal, ketchup packets are a hot commodity due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Gone are the days when condiments were placed on your table. Now, with takeout being so popular, ketchup brands such as Kraft Heinz have had to ramp up their production to catch up with increased demand on single-serve sachets.

America's Fast Food Chains Are in Short Supply of Ketchup due to Shortage

Last year during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic it was toilet paper. This year it's America's favorite condiment. Ketchup bottle sales have increased 15% in the last year, to over $1 billion in 2020 according to Today, noting that Heinz ketchup makes up nearly 70% of the U.S. retail market. With more demand comes a higher price point, a 13% increase in ketchup packet prices since 2020 to be exact.

Some brands in the restaurant industry such as Long John Silver and Texas Roadhouse have switched to generic ketchup brands and secondary suppliers to keep up with demand.

Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz's president of Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit, told TODAY Food the company is working hard to keep up the demand for those coveted ketchup packets as the takeout industry continues to explode.

"The unmatched consumer love for our iconic HEINZ brand as well as our longstanding partnership with the restaurant industry are two responsibilities we take very seriously - which was why we made strategic manufacturing investments at the start of the pandemic to keep up with the surge in demand for ketchup packets driven by the accelerated delivery and take-out trends,"

The company also stated that new production lines should increase their output by 25%, enough to get over the ketchup packet shortage.

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