Don’t waste the ketchup: Drought threatens tomato supplies

Tomato products may be the next items that will be difficult to find, but not because of shipping issues.

A drought that is hitting California is affecting tomato crops.

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Bloomberg reported that the California drought is the worst in 1,200 years, in a state that accounts for a quarter of the world’s processed tomatoes.

“We desperately need rain,” Mike Montna, the head of the California Tomato Growers Association, said according to Bloomberg. “We are getting to a point where we don’t have inventory left to keep fulfilling the market demand.”

One restaurant’s supplier said he could not find tomatoes two weeks ago, according to the “Today” show.

It’s not only the lack of fresh tomatoes for salads or sandwiches: the “Today” show reported that tomato products like ketchup, salsa, soup and spaghetti sauce will also be impacted.

A pizza shop in Miami had difficulty finding sauce a couple of weeks ago, “Today” reported.

As the drought dries up the water needed to grow crops, farmers are also dealing with rising inflation in the costs of labor, fuel and fertilizer and those rising costs are being pushed down to the consumer.

Today” reported that ketchup has gone up 23%, salsa 13% and tomato paste 16% this year when compared to last year. The prices could go higher.

This isn’t the first time there was a warning about tomato products, specifically ketchup.

In 2021, Heinz had warned it could not keep up with the demand of the small packets people get with their delivery, pickup and takeout orders, USA Today reported in 2021.

Heinz had to increase manufacturing lines to meet demand and expected to produce 12 billion packets last year.