Can Store-Brand Ketchup & Mayonnaise Ever Taste As Good As Your Brand-Name Faves?

Can this possibly be true?

When I was a child, many of the items in my kitchen cupboard were in plain white containers with red and black block lettering, so I learned early not to be a brand snob — with a couple of exceptions. I am one of those people that turn into a sour-faced 4-year-old whenever I find my only ketchup and mayonnaise options are generic store-brand versions. But my cohorts at Consumer Reports claim that there are comparable, less expensive generics available for these and other pantry staples. [More]

(Dover, NJ, Police Dept.)

Only Bad Things Can Happen When You Abandon Thousands Of Bottles Of Counterfeit Ketchup In A Warehouse

Taking huge, commercial-size bladders of Heinz Ketchup and repackaging it into smaller plastic bottles may not seem like that insidious of a scam, until you think about what else might be getting added to the sweet red goo — and what happens when you leave a few thousand bogus bottles of the stuff in a warehouse unattended. [More]

Five Big American Businesses Teaming Up To Develop Plant-Based Plastic

Five Big American Businesses Teaming Up To Develop Plant-Based Plastic

Coca-Cola might be super proprietary about its secret soda formula, but when it comes to sharing technology that could help the earth, it’s willing to to spread the wealth with other big American businesses. Coca-Cola, Ford, Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble announced today they’ve teamed up to work on how to develop plant-based plastic material. [More]

Heinz To Sell Upmarket Version Of Ketchup

Heinz To Sell Upmarket Version Of Ketchup

Heinz didn’t get the message that it’s unfashionable to cater to the 1% crowd. They’re coming out with a 58th variety of ketchup. A kind for fancypants. It’s more “upscale” because it uses balsamic vinegar instead of white wine vinegar. [More]

Heinz Rolling Out "Dip And Squeeze" Ketchup Packets

Heinz Rolling Out "Dip And Squeeze" Ketchup Packets

If you’ve ever cursed the gods for making ketchup packets both awkward and filled with too little ketchup, Heinz has heard your cry. They’ve started to roll out to a broader audience the “dip and squeeze” ketchup packets that have three times more ketchup and serves as both a dipping tray and a squeeze packet. I tried one this weekend. [More]

Smart Ones Frozen Meals: Not All That Smart, Actually

Smart Ones Frozen Meals: Not All That Smart, Actually

Jenna sat down to eat her Smart Ones frozen entree, a vegetable-loaded lasagna, when she found that she’d just been served a big, steaming bowl of confusion. Eating frozen dinners is supposed to simplify meal planning when you’re trying to lose weight, but the package manages to contradict itself regarding the meal’s nutritional content. A simple enough graphic design error, sure, but it indicates a worrisome lack of attention to detail. [More]

Heinz To Change Recipe, Decrease Salt In Beloved Ketchup

Heinz To Change Recipe, Decrease Salt In Beloved Ketchup

The NY Post says that Heinz has found a way to decrease the amount of salt in their beloved ketchup — without changing the taste. Or so they say. [More]

Ask Heinz If It Makes Non-HFCS Ketchup, Get Health And Diet Lecture

Ask Heinz If It Makes Non-HFCS Ketchup, Get Health And Diet Lecture

Drew wrote into Heinz asking if they company makes any ketchup that isn’t infested by oh-so-bad-for-you high-fructose corn syrup. Instead of a simple “no,” he got a lecture on diet and exercise. [More]

Food Companies Start Listening To Customers, Ditch High Fructose Corn Syrup

Food Companies Start Listening To Customers, Ditch High Fructose Corn Syrup

Do Americans feel strongly enough about high fructose corn syrup to seek out food without it? Will anyone go out of their way and pay extra to find soda or ketchup without the controversial corn-based sweetener? AdAge reports that some companies are removing it from their products, but have discovered that marketing the change without alienating consumers who weren’t aware of or simply don’t care about the presence of HFCS poses unique problems. [More]

Kids Design Cute Heinz Ketchup Packets, Learning Important Early Lessons In Mass-Market Commodification

Kids Design Cute Heinz Ketchup Packets, Learning Important Early Lessons In Mass-Market Commodification

Today my sandwich came with these Heinz ketchup packets with cute little designs on them, part of an insidious plot to sell more ketchup.

Grocery Growth Ray To Hit Ketchup, Chips

Grocery Growth Ray To Hit Ketchup, Chips

A grocery growth ray is set to hit a popular condiment and several kinds of baked corn with names ending “tos.” To push the brands as being good values, Heinz will be selling slightly larger ketchup bottles, and Frito-Lay is adding 20% to Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos – without raising the price. Unlike the grocery shrink ray, you can bet this change will be loudly trumpeted on the package.

Potato Chips: Now With Fewer Carcinogens!

Potato Chips: Now With Fewer Carcinogens!

Four major potato chip makers have agreed to use less of the carcinogen Acrylamide under a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office. Frito-Lay, Heinz, Kettle Foods, and Lance Inc. also agreed to pay a $3 million fine for flouting state laws that require companies to place warning labels on products with carcinogens.

Do Not Be Lured Into Target's 2 For $4 Heinz Ketchup Trap

Do Not Be Lured Into Target's 2 For $4 Heinz Ketchup Trap

Andrew writes in to let us know that he’s started to look more carefully at prices when shopping at Target… and so far it’s saved him $0.61 on ketchup…

User-Generated Content Won't Displace Madison Avenue Anytime Soon

User-Generated Content Won't Displace Madison Avenue Anytime Soon

Many people see ads and think they could do better. According to the New York Times, no, they can’t. The Times is following the struggle of H.J. Heinz to find five user-generated ads to air on TV sometime this September. Companies like Heinz are discovering that user-generated content doesn’t save time or money. For the foreseeable future, Madison Avenue will be responsible for creating the ads we love to hate.

Many entries are mediocre, if not downright bad, and sifting through them requires full-time attention. And even the most well-known brands often spend millions of dollars up front to get the word out to consumers.

We prefer YouTube’s user-generated content to the schmaltz spewing from Madison Avenue. What do you think: is the content really worse, or are companies unwilling to step away from their comfort zones? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Cool, Innovative Advertising?

Cool, Innovative Advertising?

Sometimes, with a lurch, I realize that – every moment of the day – I am constantly surrounded by the insentient equivalent of dozens of plaid-suit and bear-grease hucksters, doing jumping jacks and breathlessly screaming for me to look at them. Wherever I go, they are there. Even weirder, I realize I’m so used to these obnoxious guys following me around all day that I don’t even notice when, for example, they scream at me to look at something so surreal or stupid its actually kind of awesome. Like a load of porridgy-eyed Dubliners omnibusing to work in the morning in a giant locomoting can of Heinz Baked Beans. Or a massive inflatable robot hovering from the corner of Tower Records in Boston, with his laser eyes ominously glowing.