Ketchup is the next COVID-19 shortage.
Not the bottled variety as much as the small, individual packages restaurants offer with pickup, take-out, and delivery orders.
And it’s hitting America’s most popular brand, Heinz, with shortages at chains like Long John Silver’s and Texas Roadhouse, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Kraft Heinz confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that it is working to increase its supplies, such as adding manufacturing lines that will increase production by about 25% for a total of more than 12 billion packages per year.
Other recent shortages include grains and Grape-Nuts microchips, which are affecting auto production and used car prices.
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The blockage of the Suez Canal by a freighter the size of a skyscraper could also cause grunts in the global supply chain, leading to shortages of products such as toilet paper, coffee and furniture in the United States. United.
Steve Cornell, president of Kraft Heinz’s Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home division, said in a statement to USA TODAY that the company had “made strategic investments in manufacturing early in the pandemic to deal with the outbreak of demand for ketchup packets. by accelerating trends in deliveries and take-out. “
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Another reason for the shortage is that restaurants use the packages when consumers eat, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for restaurants.
“Avoid using or sharing reusable items, such as menus, condiments and any other food containers,” the CDC said. “Instead, use disposable or digital menus (menus displayed on cell phones), single serve condiments, and contactless bins and doors.”
Packet prices have risen 13% since January 2020, the Journal reported, noting that packet market share has increased at the expense of tabletop bottles, according to catering-business platform Plate IQ.
Kraft Heinz said when aggregate restaurant demand plummeted at the start of the pandemic, it saw the shift to take-out and delivery and pivoted to prioritize product production. He also said he had cut back on less popular varieties and added additional product changes, but demand was still greater than supply.
In November, Heinz also added a new contactless dispenser “to better meet the changing needs of restaurants”.
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Contributor: Morgan Hines and Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko