Ketchup Packets Now in a Shortage Due to All The Take-Outs and Deliveries

Apr 12, 2021 04:31 AM EDT | By Erika Dee (

Ketchup and tomatoes
Is there s shortage of ketchup?
(Photo : Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels)

Soon it might not be possible to order extra ketchup packets with orders of fries anymore, or at all. According to a new report, restaurants that have to shift the majority of their business into take-out and delivery orders only are already facing a shortage of ketchup packets. This is another weird effect produced by the unrelentless COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ketchup Packets are in a COVID-19 Shortage

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, there is a demand for ketchup manufacturing companies to increase their capacity by at least 25 percent higher.

Doing so would increase the supply of ketchup packets to 12 billion a year, thus reducing the shortage. This analysis is made by Kraft Heinz Company, which holds at present up to 70% of the U.S. retail market for this famous condiment. 

"We also fast-tracked future-focused culinary and packaging innovations," explained Steve Cornell, President, Kraft Heinz - Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit.

How to Address Ketchup Packet Shortage

According to Darren Tristano, the man behind the food and beverages industry analytics firm Foodservice Results, there is no shortage of tomatoes in the world, so producing more ketchup is not going to be a problem if raw materials supply is the worry. In addition, there are many processing plants that are on call. The COVID-19 pandemic is simply complicating things, but this is hardly a lost case. 

He added that there are many options for operators. One of which is to utilize private label ketchup from distributors like U.S. Foods and Sysco. If they do not want these brands, they can opt for other brands such as Hunt and Red Gold to provide these options.

ALSO READ: Yogurt Can Fight COVID-19 Infection, Study Shows

Apart from source diversification, restaurant managers can address this shortage by rethinking how they distribute ketchup packets to customers, Tristano explained. 

One way to rethink their processes is by ascertaining ways to limit waste. They should be asking the customers whenever they order whether they even want ketchup on their take-out or deliveries, and how many exactly. Just giving all customers the same amount of packets per order is going to lead to significant waste. It is not that unnatural to see ketchup packets unopened in the trash bin because of this. 

According to the WSJ, increasing demand has led to a 13 percent hike in ketchup packet prices since 2020. 

These elevated prices are here to stay, Tristano predicted. 

While there is a great waste of ketchup packets, there is no doubt that these packets are highly demanded - with some of them being now sold on eBay

The newspaper, however, chucked this shortage mainly to the pandemic. In crisis situations such as the present coronavirus pandemic, people can see things as mundane as tissue paper, jars, and even vegetable seeds go into a shortage. 

In the middle of this ketchup news, however, some ketchup companies claimed the shortage is not true. The production is merely strained, but not enough to cause a massive shortage. 

ALSO READ: 3 Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine

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