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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2010

Heinz unveils car-friendly ketchup pack


By SARAH SKIDMORE
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Heinz's new Dip & Squeeze Tomato Ketchup package, shaped like a shallow cup, holds three times more ketch-up than a traditional packet.

H.J. Heinz Co. via Associated Press

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For decades there was only one way to use the humble ketchup packet, and it was messy. Now, thanks to a redesign by Heinz, fast-food lovers have a choice: the traditional squeeze play or the option to dunk.

You want fries with that, in the minivan? No problem.

The redesigned ketchup pack, unveiled yesterday by H.J. Heinz Co., is shaped like a shallow cup. The top can be peeled back for dipping, or the end can be torn off for squeezing. It holds three times as much ketchup as a traditional packet.

"The packet has long been the bane of our consumers," said Dave Ciesinski, vice president of Heinz Ketchup. "The biggest complaint is there is no way to dip and eat it on-the-go."

Heinz struggled for years to develop a container that lets diners dip or squeeze, and to produce it at a cost that is acceptable to its restaurant customers.

Designers found that what worked at a table didn't work where many people use ketchup packets: in the car. So two years ago, Heinz bought the design team a used minivan to give their ideas real road tests.

The team studied what each passenger needed. The driver wanted something that could sit on the armrest. Passengers wanted the choice of squeezing or dunking. Moms everywhere wanted a packet that held enough ketchup for the meal and didn't squirt onto clothes so easily.

Heinz is rolling out the new packs this fall at select fast-food restaurants nationwide. It will continue to sell the traditional packets.

The company said it is still working out prices with customers. But the new packet should cost only a little more, even though it holds much more ketchup.