Condiment industry titan Heinz is—much like what you once had to do to get their ketchup out of their classic bottle—shaking things up again! Though this time, rather than growing tomatoes on “Mars”, the company is embracing the future by debuting what they call their Heinz Remix dispenser. This contraption will be trialled in restaurants through to 2024, where diners can start with a “base” sauce (including ketchup, Heinz 57, ranch, and others) and then add “enhancer” flavours at three degrees of intensity (like chipotle, mango, or buffalo), which will then be dispensed out to them. This will allow folks to create sauces more in line with their own tastes in seconds and—most importantly, of course— generate data for Heinz to mine and potentially make new mass-market flavours to sell.
“‘We are very, very clear that away-from-home and foodservice gives us an opportunity to test, to learn, to understand and to build trends much earlier than we have done historically,’ said Peter Hall, Kraft Heinz’s head of its North American foodservice division.
Hall said the company is still working through the specific business model for the Heinz Remix. It’s also looking at how the dispenser could be used for drive-thru orders, he said. But the machine requires more time and effort than throwing a handful of ketchup packets in a takeout bag, which will likely pose a challenge for speed-focused drive-thru lanes.”
(I wonder if Heinz and Wendy’s might do a collab—this sounds like a job for that new drive-thru AI [link: http://dfc.com/4171-2/] of theirs!)
Apparently, the math works out to a staggering 200 potential flavour combos. However, notably missing from the advance list of base sauces is mayonnaise; perhaps Heinz is hoping to avoid another naming debacle that might crop up? And around the Heinz offices, workers are digging an unusual mix: mango ketchup, which I imagine would be terrific on spicy sweet potato fries! I’m so glad corporate America is innovating hard in the areas that really need it, freeing us to enjoy functionally unlimited sauce customization. But when the world is actually burning, perhaps the little things become that much more precious.