The Switch to Individual Ketchup Packets Has Caused a Shortage in Fast Food Chains and Restaurants Across the Country

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr

If you’re a ketchup lover, you better start bringing your own bottle to restaurants or keeping a few extras in storage at home: There’s a countrywide ketchup packet shortage that’s affecting fast-food chains and restaurants!

It was only a matter of time before a condiment tragedy like this occurred. With the uptick in takeout since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ketchup packets have finally met their match. Plus, on top of the demand for ketchup to be given with these takeaway meals, sit-down restaurants are also utilizing the individualized packets so that they can forgo shard bottles on tables, touched by every customer who sits there.

With so much supply and demand for these ketchup packets, supply chains are at their wits end trying to keep up. Plus, now they’re dealing with a 13 percent increase since 2020 in the price of ketchup packets so it’s been near impossible to keep up.

So what does that mean—you have to put mustard on your fries? Don’t fret, ketchup fiends. It’s not going to be forever. Heinz, America’s most popular ketchup brand, is well aware of the shortage, and is working hard to get things back to normal for the ketchup-loving society by planning to increase production of the ketchup packets by about 25%. That will shoot production to over 12 billion packets per year.

“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,” said Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz’s president of Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit.

Until then, restaurants are scrambling to find generic brand ketchup packets.

“We’re busy doing everything we can,” Cornell, assured the public, adding that they’re even looking at some new innovative packaging designs that might help in the shortage.

“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,” he said.

To hear more regarding the ketchup packet shortage, check out the video below.

Are you a ketchup lover? Were you aware that there was a ketchup package shortage? What do you think will be the next shortage we experience in this pandemic life?