If you are a ketchup lover, then this news may horrify you slightly. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the country is going through a shortage of ketchup and the restaurants and food chains are finding it hard to meet the demands of their customers.
Most Americans love to put ketchup on their food. The restaurant and fast-food chains give away small packets of ketchup with the food free of cost, so they consider the place when they buy the food next time. But during the pandemic, this demand for ketchup increased more than before, which led to a shortage of ketchup and a hike in its prices.
According to the newspaper, this imbalance in demand and supply resulted in a 13% increase in the prices of ketchup from last year’s prices. Kraft Heinz is a well-known ketchup manufacturer in the country and also holds nearly 70% of the U.S. retail market for ketchup. There is also a spike of 15% in the sales of ketchup bottles since last year, which is over 1$ billion in 2020 because more people are eating food at their homes due to the Covid pandemic, the newspaper wrote further.
“The company is working hard to keep up the demand for those coveted ketchup packets as the takeout industry continues to explode” Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz’s president of Enhancers, Specialty, and Away from Home Business Unit said. “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.”
This shortage in ketchup supply is forcing the restaurants and supply chains to give away small ketchup packets in large quantities. With the increase in its prices, these restaurants and food chains are also buying generic ketchup for their customers that they don’t usually buy. Other popular food chains, such as Texas Roadhouse and Long John Silver’s also switched to buy ketchup packets from the secondary suppliers.
“At the same time, we also fast-tracked future-focused culinary and packaging innovations, as well as further manufacturing expansion plans, as we believe there is an enormous opportunity to grow our brands in the exciting foodservice industry,” Steve Cornell said. In November 2020, the company launched an automatic food dispenser in order to maintain sanitary standards.