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.