Catch Up on Ketchup

Tue Sep 24 2019 /
Mackenzie Klutch

Catch Up on Ketchup

Ketchup has a special place in my heart. And no, it’s not because I’m one of those people that drown their food in ketchup. I don’t carry emergency ketchup packets with me, nor do I need ketchup to complete a meal. To be honest, I really don’t even like the taste of ketchup. For a girl who doesn’t even like this condiment, why would it have a special place in my heart? Well, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and if you know anything about Pittsburgh natives, you know we take pride in everything that comes from our city. We adore the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates (even when they’re not great). We unabashedly put fries and coleslaw on our sandwiches, and we love Heinz.

H.J. Heinz was born to German immigrants in the same city as me in 1844. When he was twenty-five, he started selling packaged horseradish (no ketchup yet). But that company went bankrupt in 1875. Not to be deterred, he started another company just a year later of which tomato ketchup was one of the first products. Now Heinz wasn’t just a condiment connoisseur—he was also a packaging pioneer. He used clear glass bottles so his customers could see the quality and consistency of his product, and this led to differentiation from his competition. Heinz continued to use innovative packaging to create the icon Heinz ketchup brand we know and love today.

Here are a few highlights of the company’s creative endeavors in the packaging realm:

1948: Iconic Glass is Born
Heinz introduces the octagonal-shaped glass bottle, which is now a worldwide recognized symbol of the ketchup.

1967: I Need my Ketchup Portable!
Heinz responded with fast food, grab and go, portable ketchup packets which are still in high demand today.

2000: Kid-Friendly Frenzy
You might remember the EZ squirt collection featuring green, purple, and other outlandish colors. It was a short-lived novelty item but offered a fresh design on the squeeze bottle with its kid-friendly nozzle.

2002: Ketchup Inversion
The upside-down bottle made it even easier for consumers to squirt their favorite condiment.

2015: Ketchup’s New BFFs
Starting with the revitalization of their mustard recipe, Heinz began rolling out mayo, BBQ sauces, and mashups (think Mayochup), all with the inverted bottle design.

And most recently:

2019: Canadians Don’t Know How to Pour Ketchup
Everyone knows that if you’re faced with the old school glass bottle, you tilt it and bang on the 57 to get the ketchup out. It seems, however, the Canadians were not let in on this little secret. Kindly, Heinz rolled out a limited edition bottle labeled in such a way that the label is only upright when you have it tilted at just the right angle. Pretty clever stuff. 

This isn’t a conclusive list, but with it, we’ve seen some of the innovations that have helped make Heinz the global brand we know today. And for me, that means knowing that wherever I am in the world—be it a drive-through in Atlanta or a tiny restaurant in Rome—chances are good they carry Heinz ketchup.


Want to learn more about what it takes to create an innovative design that stands the test of time? Enroll in one of our packaging certificates today to become a packaging pro!

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