Anyone who has ever busted open a small take-out packet of ketchup before dipping hot french fries into the popular condiment needs to sit up and pay attention to this. We have a red alert on our hands in the United States, and it's called a ketchup shortage. Wowser.

We've actually (kind of) gotten used to shortages of essential items since the world went into lockdown last year. But it doesn't make it any easier when you are still nervous about purchasing toilet paper every time you walk into a grocery store. That uneasiness might stay with us for a while, unfortunately.

According to the Wall Street Journal, via USA Today, The Kraft Heinz Company is experiencing shortages for their most popular brand of ketchup, Heinz, at restaurant chains around the country. And the shortfall is also hitting take-out, pickup, and delivery orders that use the small individual packets. Company officials say they are working hard to speed up manufacturing by at least 25%, which would up the production to about 12 billion packets a year.

Some explanations for the shortage include the Centers for Disease Control sanitary guidelines to use individual packets instead of bottles in restaurants, and the recent blockage of a massive tanker in Egypt's Suez Canal. The tanker stopped passage through the canal for almost a week, causing a major disruption in the global supply chain. Kraft Heinz also said that the price of the individual ketchup packets has gone up by 13% since last year.



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