Kraft Heinz confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that it is working to increase supplies, such as adding new production lines that will increase production by about 25% for a total of over 12 billion packets a year.
The congestion of the Suez Canal by a skyscraper-sized cargo ship could also lead to snarls in the international supply chain, resulting in shortages of products such as toilet paper, furniture, and coffee in the U.S.
Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz’s president of Enhancers said in a statement to USA TODAY “made strategic production investments at the start of the pandemic to keep up with the surge in demand for ketchup packets driven by the accelerated delivery and takeout tendencies.”
Another reason for the deficit is restaurants are also using the packets when consumers are dining in, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for restaurants.
“Avoid using or sharing things which are reusable, like menus, condiments, and any other food containers,” the CDC said. “Instead, use disposable or electronic menus (menus viewed on cellphones), single-serving condiments, and no-touch trash cans and doorways.”
According to restaurant-business platform Plate IQ, the prices of the packets are up 13% since January 2020, the Journal reported, noting that the packets’ market share grew at the expense of tabletop bottles.
Kraft Heinz said when overall restaurant demand plunged at the onset of the pandemic, it saw the change to takeout and delivery and pivoted to prioritize production of products. It also said that it scaled back on less popular varieties and additional extra product shifts, but the need was still greater than supply.
In November, Heinz also added a new no-touch dispenser” to meet changing restaurant needs.”