Ketchup shortage creates online market for old packets

A shortage of ketchup in the U.S. has led to Americans selling single-use packets obtained from fast food restaurants on eBay and other marketplaces.

The coronavirus pandemic phenomenon, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, has led to ridiculous spikes in prices for the single-use packets, including one listing for three packets on eBay Wednesday afternoon that had been bid up to $11.50 and was designated “for Apocalypse survival!” by the seller.

Other, newer listings on eBay included an offer for 20 packets starting at $3.99 with a $9.99 buyout price, while larger bottles could be found on the platform as well.

Kraft Heinz, the most well-known U.S. ketchup brand, told the Journal in a statement that it is ramping up production to meet the shortage’s demands. The Hill has reached out for further comment.

NPR reported that the squeeze is particularly hitting the restaurant industry, which has seen prices for single-use packets rise by 13 percent amid the shortage.

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“They are really sweating over it. I mean, it’s costing a lot,” Heather Haddon, a restaurant reporter for the Journal, told NPR in an interview. “It’s, you know, a service issue. So for these restaurant owners, it’s not a laughing matter.”

“Everyone was sheltering at home, and manufacturers really prioritized grocery customers. So everyone was, you know, eating their burgers and fries at home,” Haddon added.

Tags eBay Kraft Heinz

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