This pandemic has had all kinds of unexpected and fascinating effects. One such effect apparently has to do with the ketchup industry.
We've experienced a variety of grocery store and shopping shortages—especially at the beginning of the pandemic (e.g. the toilet paper crisis of spring 2020). But the restaurant industry has also been impacted in weird and interesting ways.
Enter the ketchup crisis of 2021.
As we all know, takeout has surged in 2020 and 2021. It's probably been the main way that we consume restaurant food for the past year.
What we probably don't think about often is how much demand that places on takeout-related products, which is exactly what has happened with ketchup.
Restaurants and fast-food chains have had such an increase in takeout that they've also had a big ol' surge of demand for ketchup packets. Heinz and the restaurants it supplies have for sure felt this change, with shortages at chains like Texas Roadhouse and Long John Silver's, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
Related to the shortage are increased prices for ketchup packets since early 2020.
So, while the ketchup package shortage is certainly not the most pressing issue of 2021 and the pandemic, it is still undoubtedly affecting businesses across the United States.
Next time you pick up fries from your local pub or swing through a drive-through for a burger, make sure you've got a bottle o' ketchup at home. It'll save the restaurant the shortage, you the hassle, and the planet a couple fewer plastic packets.