Heinz alters Ketchup label as part of health and wellness push

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 23rd January 2009

Food manufacturer Heinz has consigned the pickle to the annals of food history with the launch of a new label for their iconic Heinz Ketchup.

Heinz North America announced the gherkin pickle, which has been featured on labels since the 1890s, is making way for a vine-ripened tomato and a slogan communicating that the tomatoes in Heinz Tomato Ketchup are ‘Grown not made’.

“The tomato is what makes Heinz Ketchup so extraordinary and so, with all due respect to the pickle, which has served Heinz dutifully since the 19th century, we are shifting the spotlight to the tomato,” said Heinz Chairman, President and CEO, William R. Johnson. “The redesign of our label … highlights the true hero of our iconic product, the tomato.”

“According to consumer research, Heinz’s ‘Grown not made’ label is viewed by 68 per cent of consumers as confirming the wholesomeness of Heinz Tomato Ketchup,” added Noel Geoffroy, Director of Heinz Ketchup.

The label change is the first major alteration to the label for 65 years and comes after Heinz outlined their plans last year to heighten their focus on health and wellness. The change is designed to promote a healthier perception of the product.

Heinz Ketchup

“In a time when complex food supply chains can make it difficult for consumers to know where their food comes from, consumers can rest assured that each tomato in a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, from seed to vine to bottle can be chronicled through a code on the cap,” the company suggested. A simple look at this code allows Heinz to determine the exact farm the tomatoes were grown on, the details of where the ketchup was bottled and even what variety of HeinzSeed seeds were used.The story behind the pickle goes back to 1893 when H. J. Heinz decided to use a “pickle pin” to attract attention to his booth at the Chicago World’s Fair, the nation’s largest food show and exposition at that time. The pins were so popular that attendees were lining up to get one. A simple marketing gimmick became part of the history of the brand, despite the product not actually containing pickles.

Throughout the years, the pickle adorned each bottle of Heinz Ketchup. Even still – that little pickle, over time, faded into the background in consumers’ minds.

Heinz Ketchup bottles featuring the new labels will begin arriving in American stores throughout the first part of 2009 after being successfully tested in the UK last year. The new label will be supported by their largest marketing campaign since the 1980s, they added.

The move comes as a number of prominent food industry players, from fast-food chain McDonald’s to retailer Woolworths, look to refresh their brands and emphasise freshness with new logos or packaging.