17:10 GMT22 April 2021
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    The first weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020 saw empty shelves in grocery stores, with people particularly buying and hoarding toilet paper. Now, as humanity enters its second year of the pandemic, new challenges emerge.

    Many American restaurants have encountered a nationwide ketchup shortage amid a boost of interest for takeout that emerged amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

    Due to what appears to be a sudden condiment catastrophe, restaurant managers are struggling to find alternatives to ketchup, pouring it into a single-serve cups and using generic versions.

    “We’ve been hunting high and low,” Chris Fuselier, owner of Denver-based Blake Street Tavern, told the WSJ.

    Since the pandemic switched many restaurants to takeout-only mode, obtaining enough single servings became a thing of high importance - and of high cost, as a single ketchup cup is more expensive than it's identical volume when purchased in bulk.

    According to the WSJ, Long John Silver, a nearly 700-unit fast-food chain, had to seek ketchup from secondary suppliers due to high demand, with the shift to packets costing the company an extra half a million dollars.

    The ketchup shortage saw prices skyrocketing some 13%, although production was boosted. According to a Heinz representative, the iconic ketchup brand plans to increase production by 25 percent this month, putting out packets at a rate of over 12 billion annually.

    Surging demand for ketchup and other condiments was marked in a July 2020 CNN report, with sales jumping 40 percent compared to the pandemic-free 2019. 

    Among other coronavirus-prompted bestsellers were toilet paper, hand sanitizers, face masks and canned goods.

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    Tags:
    shortage, Ketchup, coronavirus, COVID-19
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