You may find the coming summer months taste a little...different. Just after the FDA
announced its plans to limit salt in processed foods, Heinz
has given word that it's tweaking the recipe for its iconic ketchup -- and the new bottles will hit stores this summer. The company, which has not changed this ketchup recipe in 40 years, believes the new formula -- which contains 15 percent less sodium -- will be as popular as the old version, according to the AP
. And that's very popular indeed -- the brand corners about 60 percent of the ketchup market. But some customers are expressing doubt.
"Leave the ketchup alone," one Brooklynite said to the New YorkPost
. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Another, an octogenarian who's been eating Heinz ketchup for most of his life, lamented in the same article: "I haven't died yet. It's really hard for me to eat without salt. I think it's infringing on our rights!"
Marketing strategists are surely thinking back to the days of New Coke
, a massive PR failure, but the Heinz ketchup reformulation has some important differences. For one thing, the catalyst for the change would appear not to be PR but rather public health. Spokeswoman Jessica Jackson told the Post
that the company was keeping "the needs of our consumers and our commitment to health and wellness" in mind. The other major difference is the lack of a glitzy ad campaign. Bottles containing the new recipe will have no hint on the label; customers will have to look at the nutritional data in order to tell the difference. (Or, maybe, just taste it.)