The United States faces a shortage of a bag of ketchup
(CNN Business) – As the doors open at Blake Street Tavern every day, employer Chris Fuselier searches for clients and ketchup in an envelope. “Sure,” says the owner of the Denver restaurant. Later, if you had asked me eighteen months ago if I had concerns about the shortage of ketchup in the sachets, I would have said Are you crazy?
But since then, Fuselier has increasingly focused on the insane pursuit of ketchup for its customers. “It got so bad that when I go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s, I’ll keep these extra packages to take them back to Blake Street,” he says.
You are not alone in this situation. A shortage of ketchup, especially in the packaging that often comes with your order, began to appear across the country last summer, and the situation worsened.
Why is there a shortage of ketchup in bags?
It began when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not recommend traditional dining in restaurants and suggested more appropriate options in the epidemic such as home delivery and dining out.
Suddenly, coast-to-coast restaurants were packing starters, side dishes, and cold drinks to a steady stream of people working from home or driving by. These customers wanted additional sauces. So those traditional restaurants were in direct competition with fast food places, which also closed their dining rooms and increased their orders for tomato sauce packages.
Demand and prices have risen, and supply has decreased.
Heinz, the nation’s largest producer of tomato sauce, is at the epicenter of the problem and is taking steps to address it. Just a few days ago, the company announced a “25% increase in production, totaling 12,000 million bags of tomato sauce … annually”.
“We made strategic investments in manufacturing at the start of the pandemic to keep pace with the increase in demand for packages of ketchup driven by rapid delivery and takeout trends; at the same time, we are also working to accelerate forward-looking and culinary production, packaging innovations, as well as additional manufacturing expansion plans,” Said Steve Cornell, head of the specialist and offshore business unit at Kraft Heinz.
That’s a long way of saying that the ketchup giant doesn’t want to leave anyone empty-handed when looking for a little flavor as the pandemic clears.
In Colorado, there is even more urgency in front of Coors Field, which is where the popular Fuselier Restaurant is located. Quite unexpectedly, the Major League Baseball All Star is coming to town in July, promising unexpected wins after a tough year.
He is committed to keeping up with the demand for ketchup, and storing as much as he can. He says with a smile, “I will order now. It’s not a joke. I have a hundred days.”