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New shortage: Ketchup can’t catch up



The supply chain problem has penetrated into a corner of the business area: ketchup packaging.

After a year of closure, employee safety concerns, and start-ups and closures, American restaurants are now facing a nationwide shortage of ketchup. After Covid-19 subverted the condiment world order, restaurants are trying to ensure the staple food on the table. Managers are using the universal version, pouring bulk ketchup into individual cups and looking for alternatives in Costco’s aisles.

“We have been searching high above,” said Chris Fuselier, owner of the Denver-based Blake Street Tavern.

The pandemic turned many sit-down restaurants into takeaway specialists, making individual ketchup packets the main condiment currency for national chains and popular restaurants. According to data from the restaurant business platform Plate IQ, since January 2020, the price of small packages has risen by 1

3%, and its market share has surged at the expense of desktop bottles.

Even the fast food giants are begging for packaging. Long John Silver’s LLC, a chain store with nearly 700 units, had to seek ketchup from secondary suppliers due to strong demand. Executives said the industry’s shift to the small package pandemic has pushed up prices, causing the Louisville, Kentucky-based company to spend half a million dollars more because single-serve pricing is higher than bulk pricing.


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