The ongoing pandemic has resulted in some strange shortages over the course of the past year or so. First it was cleaning supplies. Then it was toilet paper. But somehow, some way, we survived. Now, due to a change in the way that restaurants have operated and a change in our own eating habits at home, the U.S. is facing a ketchup shortage.

Newsweek reports that due to changes in consumer behavior and the way that restaurants have had to operate, those handy ketchup packets we all think will never run out, are actually running out! Heinz, the company that controls nearly 70% of the ketchup market, has been hit  the hardest. Some restaurants simply can't get the Heinz packets in so they're heading to places like Costco and buying...gasp...off brand!

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So why are restaurants running low on packets? Because of how the pandemic has forced them to do business. First, there was a huge shift from dine in to take out, raising the demand for those handy little packets. Then, when restaurants opened back up to customers, public health experts suggested using the packets instead of the big bottles to help stop the spread of the virus.

Heinz has plans to increase production and soon. Newsweek reports that the ketchup giant will open two new manufacturing lines this month, hoping to boost production by 25%. But will it be enough? Texas Roadhouse is the first national chain that has reportedly left Heinz behind. If supplies don't improve, other chains will no doubt follow.

 

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