The headline is kind of humorous, for those not in the restaurant business. “America Can’t Ketchup To The Demand For Ketchup.”
It’s a major problem for restaraunteurs. Seriously. Heather Haddon, a restaurant reporter for The Wall Street Journal said “It’s, you know, a service issue. So for these restaurant owners, it’s not a laughing matter.”
The problem was twofold. First, retail sales of ketchup were 15% higher this past year as American’s stocked up on their comfy condiment.
Then, as restaurants opened up again for take-out orders, servers would throw handfuls of single-use ketchup packets into the to-go bags loaded with burgers and fries.
It eventually caused a legitimate supply issue that is freaking out some restaurant owners and managers.
Manufactures of ketchup had to pivot, and shift from mass producing bottles of ketchups into ramping up the production of the single use packets. And that is not something that happens overnight.
It led to a price increase of the single-use packets of 13%, which meant some restaurant owners had to take drastic measures, like creating their own single-serving packets.
According to Haddon, “some general managers were having to, you know, go out to Costco or other wholesalers and just pull bottles off the shelf.”
The big U.S. ketchup makers are on it though. Heinz is the big boy in ketchup production, and controls 70% of the U.S. Retail market share. The company vowed to increase their production by 25%.
That means over 12 billion packets are on their way to catch up with the shortage!