Ketchup can't catch up with a surge in demand: WSJ

Rolling one by one off the assembly line, one-time use ketchup pockets are the latest item to see an unexpected surge in demand during the global health crisis... and they may be running out quick.

The ketchup boom in demand has already resulted in a 13 percent hike in ketchup packet prices since 2020 according to the Wall Street Journal, and experts warn those prices are here to stay.

Darren Tristano is the CEO of Foodservice Results, an industry analytics firm.

"It's really no surprise when you think about how consumers have shifted toward off-premise dining, including delivery, and takeout, and curbside, and what's happened is that condiments have become much more used. And as a result, the shortage is making it more expensive for operators."

The Kraft Heinz Company, which holds nearly 70 percent of the U.S. ketchup market, says boosting manufacturing capacity could help with the shortage.

In addition to searching for other distributors, Tristiano says restaurants should also be more careful about just who they offer their ketchup to.

"As a consumer, I've obviously received a lot more ketchup packets than I could use. So, the operator has to start to ask, 'do you want ketchup?' And if so, 'how many would you like?' And that way they can manage some of that waste a little bit better."

As restaurants begin reopening for dine-in services, Tristiano says eateries may come up with more ways to serve ketchup to customers, warning that the demand for ketchup won't be going away anytime soon.