Over a year into the pandemic, we've come a long way from the sheer panic of the toilet paper paranoia that characterized the onset of quarantine life. We've learned that we don't actually need to stock up on necessities in bulk in order to make it all work. We've discovered a whole slew of online grocery shopping or curbside pickup resources. We've mastered the art of at-home date nights. We've left the scrambling and scrounging of the early days of the pandemic behind us—or so we thought until we heard this news.

According to the Wall Street Journal, we're now facing, of all things, a ketchup shortage. In the grand scheme of things, a ketchup shortage doesn't produce the sort of logistical conundrum that something like a toilet paper shortage causes. For most of the world, a ketchup shortage is an inconvenience—and possibly even a good reason to try out some different condiments on your french fries. Like hot sauce or ranch dressing or... okay, this is a conversation for another time.


But for parents of children who are obsessed with the condiment, this might feel like a huge deal. Here's the good news: the shortage doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to score a bottle of the stuff at the grocery store. Rather, the shortage seems to be hitting restaurants that are scrambling to stock enough ketchup packets.

Think about it: Restaurants are fulfilling a lot of takeout orders right now. And what do takeout orders typically include? Individual ketchup packets that patrons can use for their burgers, fries, chicken fingers, you name it. So the next time you place a to-go order and don't see the usual ketchup packets, it'll all make sense.

According to the report, the ketchup packet shortage is affecting both small restaurants and larger chains. The demand has caused the price of ketchup packets to jump 13 percent from January 2020, the Wall Street Journal reports. Heinz, the dominant player in the ketchup market, plans to increase production to keep up with this demand.

In the meantime, there are loopholes for restaurants. Some are squirting ketchup from a bottle into tiny to-go cups. And for families of ketchup-obsessed kids? We'd suggest grabbing a bottle of ketchup before heading out for a family picnic or outing that might involve eating any food your little ketchup lover insists on pairing with the condiment. Crisis averted. See, we told you it wasn't all bad news!