After observing these and other “compensating behaviors,” H. J. Heinz Co. says it spent three years developing a better ketchup packet.
Heinz says the new “Dip and Squeeze” packets will begin replacing the traditional rectangular ketchup packets later this year at Wendy’s Co. restaurants. Smaller chains including Chick-fil-A Inc., Smashburger Master LLC, and International Dairy Queen Inc. started carrying the packets earlier this year.
As the name promises, “Dip and Squeeze” ketchup can be squeezed out through one end or the lid can be peeled back for dipping. The red, bottle-shaped packets hold three times the ketchup as traditional packets. The new containers are more expensive than the old sleeves, but Heinz hopes customers learn not to grab more than one or two.
To develop the new packet, Heinz staffers sat behind one-way, mirrored glass, watching consumers in 20 fake minivan interiors putting ketchup on fries, burgers, and chicken nuggets.
To try new prototypes himself, Mike Okoroafor, Heinz vice president of global packaging innovation and execution, bought a used minivan, taking it to local McDonald’s and Wendy’s drive-throughs to order fries and apply ketchup in the confined space.