TEXT OF STORY
Kai Ryssdal: Change can be hard, as the health care debate has shown. For a company, it can be really costly, especially one whose iconic product is a household name. Heinz is doing it anyway.
Not only is the company reducing the sodium in its ketchup and introducing a version with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, it’s also replacing those little packets that you find in cafeterias and takeout places with a new — seriously now — ketchup delivery vehicle, a packet they call “Dip and Squeeze.”
Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports.
MITCHELL HARTMAN: Heinz introduced the little foil squeeze-packet at fast food restaurants in 1968.
DAVE CIESINSKI: The complaints started in 1969.
Dave Ciesinski is Heinz’s VP for Ketchup.
CIESINSKI: It was too small, too hard to open, and too messy.
Ciesinski says the new plastic packet is shaped like a bottle, holds three times as much, and allows the consumer…
CIESINSKI: To dip, just like a traditional dip cup, but at the same time you can tear the top, and it allows consumers to squeeze. If they want to put it on top of, let’s say, a hamburger, for example.
BRET THORN: Heinz seems to be taking a mea culpa and saying, we’ve been giving you a bad service, now we’re going to give you a good one.
Bret Thorn is food editor at Nation’s Restaurant News. He says the new packaging fits better with consumer behavior these days.
THORN: So they want to decide how much ketchup they’re going to put on, and what else they want to add to their food. Sprinkling things on it and pouring things — everybody likes that.
Ultimately, Heinz wants to boost sales to fast-food chains.
Michael Stern co-authors the “Roadfood” series. He thinks this will entice people to eat more ketchup in one venue: behind the wheel. But he anticipates some bumps in the road.
MICHAEL STERN: If I put that on my dashboard and dip a french fry into it, I like a lot of ketchup. Chances are very good the weight of the ketchup and the French fry together are going to actually yank the dip-and-squeeze container off my dashboard and onto my lap.
Next better-mousetrap on the condiment front: a dashboard holder for ketchup.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.