Friday, February 5, 2010

Ketching Up With Ketchup

Hold the front page! In case you haven’t heard, Heinz is introducing new packaging for fast-food ketchup! Let’s be careful here and not call it a ‘packet’. According to the news, it’s a ‘ketchup delivery system’.

Wow. A KDS is born! I don’t recall ever thinking of the ubiquitous little nightmarishly tough to open packet as anything like a delivery system. We must truly have entered a new age.  "Dip and squeeze" is here (almost.)

Look at this design! If you open the top, you can squeeze the ketchup onto your burger. If you lift the seal you can dip your fries, chicken fingers, or clam strips into it. It’s so multi-faceted, it makes a grown person want to cry.

According to their reports, the old-style ketchup packets were introduced in 1968. Complaints began, they say, in 1969. Personally, unless the actual release date was near midnight on December 31st of 1968, I find it hard to believe that people waited till 1969 to complain about them. They’re portable, I’ll give them that, but notoriously hard to open. The other complaints are that they are too small and too messy.

Michael Stern, who co-writes the “Road Food” column and website, was heard on NPR yesterday expressing concern that if he were to dip a French fry into one of these new KDS things plunked on his dashboard, while driving, the KDS would likely end up on the floor. That’s what he’s worried about?

I think it’s more likely that if he’s eating behind the wheel, he’s going to end up plowing into that mini-van in front of him. Then he’s got the burger up his nose, and the ketchup in his lap, and he can kiss that ‘safe-driver’s discount’ goodbye.

Side note: We’re all so incensed about texting while driving (I agree) and being on the phone while driving (yes, yes), but there are dozens of other ways people are driving distracted, and eating in the car is just one of them. I’m just saying…

Anyway, now they are boasting about their responsiveness to the public’s dissatisfaction with packets. Right. We had a problem, and sure enough, FORTY-TWO YEARS LATER they are taking care of it! Let’s hear it for the Heinz solution! And it will be coming out in the fall!

Way to put your finger on the pulse of the people, Heinz! You heard our issues, and you put your best people on it, and nearly HALF A CENTURY LATER we see results. Thanks. We, as a culture, feel so validated.

I’m glad you’re not in charge of the cardiac pacemakers, the insulin pumps, the anti-lock brakes, the smoke-detectors, the child-proof cabinet locks, the drop-side cribs or the safety switches on power saws.

But new ketchup delivery system? That’s what you’re all about. I’m holding my breath till the fall. By the way, would you like fries with that?


  1. Haha, I hadn't heard about this but I'm glad I heard it here first! I dunno, the extra opening is clever, but it seems like it's still going to be messy. And I agree about eating while driving...the very concept of "Road Food" is disturbing.

  2. My word verifier thingy was "capplat," which (to me) suggested the sound of a Ketchup Delivery System hitting the floor of the car!

  3. HA! Well said! I saw this on MSN this morning, and had a good laugh. This is making me laugh even harder. Good on ya!

  4. Wow.
    I'm speechless.
    It's like the future's arrived.
    But today.

  5. I wonder how many kids will want their "ketchup delivery systems" opened for dipping THEN decide they'd rather squeeze it out? I can see these being even more of an issue than the packets for parents everywhere.

  6. It's the new iketchup. If you want condiments, there's an ap for that!