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Heinz Ketchup Bottle (1985)

Plastics News Europe staff
Posted 7 November 2011
We slather it on hamburgers, hotdogs and chips, oblivious to its importance in our lives. Today, ketchup is found in 97% of kitchens and the Heinz ketchup bottle is one of the most recognisable icons of the 20th century.

Henry J Heinz initially bottled his ketchup in 1876 in an octagonal shaped glass bottle with the now famous '57' mark, which refers to the variety of pickles offered by the company. In 1985, excited by the developments in blow moulding technology, the company introduced polypropylene plastic bottles for its famous tomato ketchup. In 1989 it switched to multi-layer polycarbonate, which offered a glass-like appearance.

However, when glassy multi-layer PP became available in 1996, both the UK and Europe converted to this material.

Heinz chose the multi-layer structure because it believed no single plastic material had all the right properties. The structure had a good water vapour barrier to maintain product weight and a high barrier against oxygen - which turns tomatoes brown. The closure was made of extrusion blow moulded multi-layer PP, with a layer of EVOH for the oxygen barrier.

Heinz introduced the plastic bottle for the convenience to the consumer. It provided control and easier flow of the ketchup from the bottle to the plate. Additionally, it minimised waste as nearly all the sauce could be dispensed with little sticking to the inside surface. It was also lighter and easier to handle and would not break if inadvertently dropped.

Earlier this year, Heinz announced it was adopting the PlantBottle, developed by Coca-Cola, for its ketchup bottles. Heinz expects to sell 120 million PlantBottle ketchup packages by the end of the year.

The PlantBottle is the first recyclable PET beverage bottle partially made from plants - up to 30% currently, using sugar cane ethanol from Brazil.


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