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PITTSBURGH -- Goodbye, old ketchup packet foe. Aware that many people believe opening a ketchup packet is not the simplest task, H.J. Heinz Co., based here, has spent the last three years creating a better packet, which is starting to replace its traditional option at foodservice establishments.
The ketchup manufacturer's new "Dip and Squeeze" packets will replace the traditional rectangular packets later this year at Wendy's restaurants. Smaller chains, including Chick-fil-A Inc., Smashburger Master LLC and International Dairy Queen Inc., already offer them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Two quick-serve restaurant giants have yet to adopt the new packets, however. McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. are testing the packets, but would not divulge the results.
The new Heinz packets are shaped like a bottle and allow consumers to squeeze out ketchup through one end or peel back the lid for dipping. The packet also holds three times the amount of ketchup compared to its predecessor, which has been in vogue for about 40 years. The new packets are more expensive than the prior packet, but the company told the newspaper that it hopes customers will not grab as many packets on the go.
Before releasing the Dip and Squeeze packets, Heinz performed a bevy of tests. This included focus group testing where consumers in 20 fake minivan interiors attempted to put ketchup on fries, burgers and chicken nuggets while Heinz staffers watched behind one-way mirrors.
To take it even one step further, Mike Okoroafor, Heinz's vice president of global packaging, innovation and execution, bought a used minivan, drove it to local McDonald's and Wendy's drive-thrus and attempted to add ketchup to his fries in the confined space.
This is certainly not Heinz's first effort to develop a more convenient ketchup packet. The company has made several attempts during the years, only to find they were too expensive to make or did not solve customer complaints.