By Brian Hews • April 7, 2021
The pandemic has caused shortages of pet food, pasta, grains, toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizers, cleaning supplies, appliances, furniture, meat and more .
Now, pandemic supply chain issues are reaching America’s favorite condiment: ketchup packets.
Restaurants have had to rely heavily on take out orders to survive, which has increased demand for the now popular packages.
Kraft Heinz Co. is the king of ketchup, a research company claiming that Heinz has nearly 70% of the US retail market for the condiment. But the more than 150-year-old brand was not prepared for the pandemic.
Ketchup sold in the United States is typically made in large national factories with tomatoes often grown in the Central Valley of California. Heinz uses varieties of tomatoes that he creates as a hybrid of certain types to achieve the flavor and texture he wants.
Kraft Heinz could not fulfill orders for its pouches, the industry term for ketchup pouches.
The ketchup conundrum hits a cornerstone of the American diet. Tomato spread is the most consumed table sauce in American restaurants, with around 300,000 tonnes sold last year.
In the meantime, they say to use cups and put the condiment in for now; the shortage is only in the packages.
There is good news: Kraft Heinz preaches patience; the company plans to open two new manufacturing lines in April, and more after that, increasing production by about 25% to a total of more than 12 billion packages per year.
The company said it also launched a new product last fall – the contactless dispenser. The distributor went from “design to pilot” in four months – 75% less time than normal.