Those that look forward to drowning their fries in juicy tomato ketchup might want to look away now – the US is facing a shortage of the popular condiment.
According to reports in the US, Kraft Heinz, the world's largest ketchup producer, has reported a rise in demand for ketchup sachets as a result of the pandemic.
The company told the AFP news agency that this trend has largely been driven by "accelerated delivery and take-out trends", with more consumers ordering from home, rather than going to restaurants.
As a result, while it has made adjustments to its production processes, demand is now greater than supply.
Last month, a leading pulp supplier, Suzano, said that a dearth of shipping containers could lead to a shortage of toilet paper in the coming weeks, potentially leading to a repeat of empty shelves experienced early in the pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the price of ketchup packets is now 13% higher than in January 2020, according to Plate IQ data, with restaurant managers increasingly turning to generic versions of the condiment amidst a growing shortage.
Elsewhere, FoodServiceDirect has reported that sales of sauces increased by 300% in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
Last autumn, Kraft Heinz restructured its business around six core food 'platforms', with the biggest one, Taste Elevation, including sauces and condiments such as Heinz ketchup.
In February of this year, Miguel Patricio, the company's chief executive, told a conference call that, "We are having record shares with our brand Heinz with ketchup and sauces everywhere in the world. But it's not only Heinz. We have line parents. We have Heinz Mayo.
"We have - basically, our portfolio - the entire portfolio on Taste Elevation doing very, very well, both growing volume and share."
It also recently unveiled the Heinz Keystone Automatic Dispenser, a new touchless sauce dispenser for restaurants and foodservice outlets, with which it is seeking to 'restore consumer confidence in dining on-premise'.
Each dispenser holds 5.6 litres of Heinz Ketchup, or any other sauce, and provides a 14-gram serving with a wave of a customer's hand.
"We wanted to do our part to develop a long-term, hands-free solution for operators, and we’re pleased to report that 94% of consumers said they’d feel safe using this Heinz Keystone Automatic Dispenser when dining out,” commented Molly Scott, director of category marketing, foodservice, Kraft Heinz.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.