The Tiny Lie in Your Pantry

If you’re home right now, go to your pantry and take a quick inventory of what you see. There’s probably some breakfast cereals, dry rice or pasta, maybe some granola bars or other snacks, and probably a good amount of condiments that haven’t been opened yet. If there’s a bottle of ketchup in there, take it out. If it’s a bottle of Heinz, you’ll probably find the number “57” somewhere on it. That number is short for “Heinz 57 varieties,” the number of products made by the H.J. Heinz Company when they introduced the slogan back in 1896. There’s just one problem: the number is a lie. In the mid-1890s, Henry J. Heinz thought his ketchup and other products needed a slogan. While the company at that time had a lot of different condiments, they had no way to bring them all together under one brand message. That changed when Mr. Heinz took a trip to New York City, where he saw an ad for 21 styles of shoes. So, in 1896, the Heinz Company adopted the slogan “Heinz 57 varieties” in their marketing. At the time, the company only had 10 varieties, so what are the other 47? As long as we’re being honest……..the words “fancy ketchup” that you see on so many packets these days is also a lie. There’s nothing fancy about the ketchup — it’s just a term for “Grade A.”