I am a ketchup aficionado. I love it so much, and I put it on lots of different stuff.
Recently, I watched Gary Hustwit’s documentary Objectified, and it has really changed the way I look at the products I use. To quote the site, “the film documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives.” The film explored our obsession with products, and the designers that create them. Cameras used to be square boxes to make room for the film, but now that we live in a digital world, why do they have to be that shape? How can you make a product that’s been around for 100 years seem new and different, and customized to the needs of the consumer? Let’s design the product for the user. Simple, and yet more difficult than it sounds.
So when I saw this post, I was immediately reminded of the lessons I learned in the film.
Ketchup packets. Everyone uses them and has been frustrated with their design before. There’s the “hanging chad” scenario, where you don’t tear the corner of the packet off completely, and the ketchup winds up squirting you in the eye as you try to apply it to your hamburger patty. Or how about the packet that just won’t open?! You have to use your teeth while juggling your carton of tater tots on your lap. And finally, those things are so tiny! I have to ask for 10 just to suffice my bare minimum ketchup needs.
Cue drum roll, curtain on three: Heinz redesigns their ketchup packet for the first time in 42 years!! The new design gives ketchup lovers two ways to enjoy ketchup: either peel back the lid for easy dipping, or tear off the tip to squeeze onto favorite foods. And, BONUS: each packet contains 3 times the ketchup. It’s a match made in condiment heaven.
Thanks for thinking of us, the ketchup consumer, Heinz! Tip of the hat to you.
Side note: Heinz is arguably the largest distributor of ketchup in the world! Why would a company with so many resources and capital wait 40+ years to redesign their packaging?