Getting the most out of your ketchup bottle

Jeremy Hobson: Some food is getting pretty high tech these days. There's instant macaroni and cheese and dinners you can microwave in the box. But the standard ketchup bottle is still pretty low tech. You've got to hit it in just the right place to get the ketchup out. Well now, thanks to some M.I.T. scientists, there may by a solution.

Marketplace's Queena Kim reports.


Queena Kim: It’s called hydrophobic nanocoating and it makes bottles non-stick. Honey, mayonnaise and ketchup slide out without leaving a trace of waste or guilt.

Kripa Varanasi: How many times do you have a ketchup bottle that’s almost empty sitting in the bottle for like six months?

That’s Kipra Varanasi an associate professor at M.I.T.

Varanasi: When we were thinking about what would be the first product that we’d get out, bottles became an obvious choice.

Bottles for sauces and condiments is a $17 billion business. And consumers have already shown they’re willing to pay up for the “upside down” bottle, which tries to solve the same problem.

Angie May runs Betty’s Diner in Berkeley. She’s not so sure customers want nano-coating with their ketchup.

Angie May: You don’t want the customers thinking, 'hmm, I just heard about this weird thing and now Betty’s is serving that ketchup.'

But they’ve got two years to think about it, before the bottles hit store shelves.

In San Francisco, I’m Queena Kim for Marketplace.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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