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The new shortage: ketchup.
The pandemic turned many sit-down restaurants into takeout specialists, making individual ketchup packets the primary condiment currency for both national chains and mom-and-pop restaurants. Packet prices are up 13% since January 2020, and their market share has exploded at the expense of tabletop bottles, according to restaurant-business platform Plate IQ.
Even fast-food giants are pleading for packets. Long John Silver’s LLC, a nearly 700-unit chain, had to seek ketchup from secondary suppliers because of the rush in demand. The industry’s pandemic shift to packets has pushed up prices, costing the Louisville, Ky.-based company an extra half-million dollars, executives said, since single-serve is pricier than bulk.
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