Kraft Heinz, America's most widely used ketchup brand, plans to increase single-serve packet production by about 25% to produce over 12 billion packets per year, to combat a nationwide shortage.
Ketchup is in short supply in the U.S., and it's costing franchisors hundreds of thousands of dollars, a new report in the Wall Street Journal said.
Individual ketchup packets have increased in price by 13% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the CDC advised against "using or sharing reusable items such as menus, condiments, and any other food containers," restaurants have been scrambling to stock up on the packets.
According to the WSJ, this, combined with many restaurants reverting to take-out only orders with packets included, has resulted in a shortage at chains such as Long John Silver's and Texas Roadhouse.
"We're busy doing everything we can," Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz's president of Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit, told WSJ.
As people adapted to social distancing and spent more time at home during the pandemic, there have been a number of uncomfortable shortages.
When states first started issuing stay-at-home orders, toilet paper and personal protective supplies such as face masks were in short supply, creating widespread panic and confusion.
Then as people settled into quarantine, baking yeast and jigsaw puzzles were hot items. Bucatini pasta has also been in short supply.
In addition, pizza shops have been having difficulty obtaining pepperoni. According to Bloomberg, restaurants have been paying more for pepperoni from suppliers, and in some cases, the cost has nearly doubled.
Not only are prices increasing, but the demand for pepperoni has far outweighed the supply. Other meat products (such as ground beef) were affected by similar shortages earlier this year, but all have recovered except for pepperoni.
As the U.S. continues its massive vaccine program, which has seen more than 100 million Americans vaccinated so far, it is uncertain if any more shortages will occur.