After more than a year of shutdowns, fears of infection and several closed doors, the restaurant industry in the US is now facing a new crisis, namely ketchup shortages across the country.
Published: Published: Less than 20 minutes ago
The corona pandemic brings with it more crises than global economic uncertainty, rising contagion and lower oil prices. In the US, there is a ketchup crisis, after takeaway has become the new norm.
When the food is packed and sent out, the demand for portion packs of ketchup increases. The Wall Street Journal writes that the shortage of ketchup affects both small restaurants and large chains.
The prices of ketchup packages have increased by 13 percent since January 2020, and according to a report from Plate IQ, which monitors the restaurant industry, this has gone beyond ketchup bottles. When no one is sitting at the tables, ketchup bottles are not bought for the restaurants either.
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The ketchup king is struggling
With a market share of over 70 percent in the US, the “ketchup king” Kraft Heinz is struggling to produce enough packages.
Steve Cornell, who is responsible for the “Specialty and Away from Home” segment in Kraft Heinz, says they need patience as they increase production.
The company plans to open two new production lines in April, and will thus be able to increase production by 25 percent – which is more than 12 billion packages a year.
The company also invented a ketchup dispenser without touch to meet the demand for corona-safe alternatives to ketchup bottles.
“We do everything we can,” Cornell told the newspaper.
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Increased ketchup consumption
According to the Wall Street Journal, ketchup is the most consumed sauce in American restaurants. Last year, about 300,000 tons of ketchup were sold to restaurants, according to the analysis agency Euromonitor.
Even more ketchup is consumed at home, and the pandemic helped push ketchup sales up to over one billion dollars last year, which is equivalent to 8.5 billion kroner. This is an increase of 15 percent from 2019.
The ketchup sold in the United States is commonly grown in large domestic factories with tomatoes grown in the Central Valley of California. Heinz uses a separate variety of tomatoes that they grow themselves as a hybrid of certain types to get the taste and texture it wants.
Since Heinz has the largest share of the market, they were most affected when demand suddenly skyrocketed.
Published: April 8, 2021 12:48 PM
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