First it was toilet paper, now ketchup is in short supply in restaurants across the country

The demand for individual packets of ketchup has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Supply chain problems have come to restaurants facing a shortage of ketchup and it seems that the providers cannot satisfy it.

Restaurants have tried to stock up on ketchup since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggested that restaurants refrain from using bottles of ketchup along with salt and pepper and other condiments on tables.

This, combined with the fact that many restaurants are reverting to take-out orders that include sachets has led to a shortage of ketchup at chains such as Long John’s Silver and Texas Roadhouse, according to the WSJ.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the price of individual ketchup packets are up 13%according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

To combat shortages, Heinz, which is the most consumed ketchup brand in the United States, plans to increase individual sachet production by 25% to produce more than 12 billion packages per yearwhile restaurants have been forced to look for other brands of ketchup.


Home delivery may have also led to an increase in retail ketchup sales. Data from the research firm Euromonitor indicates that Retail ketchup sales in 2020 were around 15 percent higher than in 2019, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Newsweek magazine reported that Heinz “has struggled to meet the demand” not only for packets of ketchup but also for bottles as more and more families have been eating at home since the pandemic began.

Related: Why there could be a new wave of toilet paper shortages in America soon

Ketchup sauce isn’t the only food that has suffered from a shortage during the pandemic. Pizza places have had trouble buying pepperoni. According to the Bloomberg agency, restaurants have experienced an increase in prices from pepperoni suppliers, and in some cases, the cost has almost doubled.

Other products like ground beef suffered a similar shortage early last year, but all are on the rebound except for pepperoni.

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