Our excitement for ketchup surpasses the enthusiasm of the average foodie. Clearly, this is the behind the atypical motivation for Heinz's new ketchup flavor, made with balsamic vinegar.
Since our society doesn't think ketchup is exciting, Heinz is kicking up the social media angle and offering ketchup to its Facebook users … about a month before putting the ketchup on store shelves.
Instead of going to the store, you order your new ketchup online on Facebook and pay a shipping fee (a shipping fee — for ketchup, seriously).
Heinz has come off two wonderful marketing decisions: Simply Heinz, that features its traditional sweetener, sugar, instead of high-fructose corn syrup, and the new portable ketchup package. So we want to be encouraged by the new ketchup flavor, despite the hype and unusual marketing campaign.
All the hype and social media element could be wonderful, but if the balsamic version has high-fructose corn syrup, then it's a no-go.
Balsamic vinegar is a fascinating choice since regular ketchup is not a "foodie food" and balsamic vinegar definitely is a "foodie food." Mixing chocolate and peanut butter is normal compared to this combo.
The balsamic vinegar is pinch-hitting for the regular vinegar. One element to check for, besides the sweetener choice, is whether vinegar remains in 2nd in the ingredient list. As we've pointed out in the past, Heinz is unique among mainstream ketchups in having vinegar before sweetener in its formula.
Increasing the hype is Heinz's decision to have the new flavor be for a limited time. We'll see if that is true. Large companies such as Heinz don't move quickly, and a "limited time" flavor might not be worth trying if we really thought it would only be for a limited time. Heinz wants to make this work.
However, unless someone I know purchases it and lets me try it — put that probability at 0 — I won't even think about it until late December. Even then, I'll be reading the label to make sure it can work. And even after that, balsamic vinegar may not make me move from my regular ketchup, the Canadian version of Heinz, of which I hope to be reunited later this month.
photo credit: Heinz